|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
25 Oct 2010 : Column 20Wcontinued
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on civil rights in Zimbabwe. 
Mr Bellingham: We regularly receive reports on civil rights in Zimbabwe, from non-governmental organisations working within Zimbabwe and from our embassy in Harare. Recent examples include analyses of Zimbabwe's media and of constraints on freedom of expression during the constitutional outreach process.
We welcome the opening up of space for civil society, which remains a strong force in Zimbabwe, but are concerned that human rights abuses continue, particularly around the rule of law. Repressive legislation and limited media freedom are outstanding issues which affect all Zimbabweans. We continue to call, both bilaterally and with EU member states, for the restoration of internationally accepted civil and political rights standards in Zimbabwe.
Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on continuity of education allowance at (a) Charterhouse School, (b) Dulwich College, (c) Eton College, (d) Harrow School, (e) Marlborough College, (f) Rugby School, (g) Westminster School, (h) Winchester College, (i) Cheltenham Ladies College, (j) Roedean School, (k) St Paul's School, (l) Fettes College and (m) Gordonstoun School in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Alistair Burt: It is a condition of their employment that members of the diplomatic service must be prepared to serve anywhere in the world at any time during their career, sometimes at very short notice. Those with children have a legal obligation as parents to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the age of five years. Most parents prefer to take their children with them abroad, but in some countries we do not permit staff to take their children either for health or security reasons. In others, local schools of an acceptable standard are not available. It is long-standing practice that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) helps staff meet their potentially conflicting obligations by providing financial support for their children's education in the UK where staff choose this, or are obliged to do so given local conditions in the country to which they are posted. Continuity of education is also an important factor, particularly at secondary level.
The FCO refunds standard term fees up to a ceiling which is reviewed annually. Staff choosing a more expensive school must pay the difference in cost themselves. The maximum amount the FCO will pay is determined by an independent survey conducted by ECA International, which is used by public and private sector employers whose staff work across the world. Various factors, including availability of places (sometimes at short notice) and proximity of other family members, influence which schools staff choose for their children. The FCO would allow staff children to attend the schools listed but would only refund fees up to the ceiling. The ceiling figure for a senior boarder for the academic year 2010-11 is £8,236 per term. All but one of the schools named in the question charge fees above the ceiling, so parents using these schools would have to contribute to the fees.
We cannot provide details of payments made in connection with specific schools. This is necessary to avoid disclosures that could identify individual members of staff and their families.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) the Secretary of State for International Development on reductions to his Department's expenditure in 2010-11. 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for International Development have discussions in the normal course of business on the work and resources of the Government overseas.
Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to how many foreign (a) diplomatic staff and (b) members of the household of such staff his Department had granted diplomatic immunity on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Alistair Burt: The foreign diplomatic community in the UK numbers around 25,000, inclusive of dependants.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions Ministers in his Department have had with the government of (a) the Falkland Islands and (b) Argentina on oil exploration in the waters around the Falkland Islands. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: There is a very regular dialogue between Ministers and officials and the Falkland Islands Government on oil exploration issues. I have discussed oil exploration, along with many other issues, when I have met Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly Members.
Ministers of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have had no recent direct discussions with Argentina on oil exploration in the waters around the Falkland Islands. In 2007, Argentina chose to withdraw from a 1995 Joint Declaration on Hydrocarbons Co-operation in the South Atlantic. We remain keen to foster a constructive relationship with Argentina in the South Atlantic.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received recent representations from the government of Argentina on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. 
Mr Jeremy Browne:
The Government of Argentina make regular protests and representations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. The most recent example, dated 20 October 2010, is an Argentine reply to a United Kingdom reply to an original Argentine protest
note concerning floating scientific data collecting buoys in Falkland Islands waters. While small details of the United Kingdom's responses to these representations may change, the main substance does not; the United Kingdom has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, and the principle of self determination, enshrined in the UN charter, underlies this position. There can be no negotiations on sovereignty unless and until the islanders so wish.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to preserve biodiversity on Henderson Island. 
Mr Bellingham: The UK Government are aware of the challenges the Overseas Territories face in their responsibility to preserve their biodiversity, and we work alongside Overseas Territory Governments to provide support and assistance in areas where they need help.
On Henderson Island, the UK Government are working closely with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Pitcairn Government and others to eradicate rats and on 18 October the RSPB announced plans to proceed with a rat eradication programme in the summer of 2011. The Overseas Territories Environment Programme has provided £188,000 of funding to RSPB since 2007 for work towards the eradication of rats from Henderson and a further £103,000 has been committed for the implementation phase. In addition to this, I recently co-hosted with the RSPB a reception in support of Henderson Island World Heritage Site, providing it with a prestigious venue to present to potential donors.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation of the Baha'i population in Iran. 
Alistair Burt: We remain concerned for the Baha'i community in Iran. During meetings with the Iranian ambassador, I have made clear my concerns over the reduced rights and continuing harassment of members of the Baha'i community, including the imprisonment of the seven leaders of the Baha'i community. We will continue to remind Iran of the international commitments it has freely signed up to, and urge the Iranian Government to cease its harassment of the Baha'i minority, and to respect the rights of all minority groups.
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of ministerial salaries in his Department in 2010-11. 
Alistair Burt: It is estimated that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will spend £187,514 on ministerial salaries in 2010-11.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made in the OSCE Minsk Group discussions on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh. 
Mr Lidington: The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group continues to encourage all parties to commit to a durable, peaceful settlement of the conflict, and to reduce tensions along the Line of Contact that separates the two sides.
The Minsk Group co-chairs (from France, the US and Russia) visited Baku, Yerevan, Nagorno-Karabakh and conflict-affected parts of Azerbaijan on their recent Field Assessment Mission on 4-13 October. They used the visit to reinforce the need for increased dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The UK continues to support the work of the Minsk Group.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Minister for Overseas Territories plans to visit the Pitcairn Islands in 2010-11. 
Mr Bellingham: Since 2009 we have improved access to Pitcairn by providing a regular shipping service with the charter of MV Claymore. Despite this, getting to and from Pitcairn remains difficult and time-consuming. It is, therefore, unlikely that I shall be able to visit the island in 2010-11.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the state of UK relations with the Pitcairn Islands; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: Following extensive consultation between the UK Government and the people of Pitcairn, a new governance structure was introduced in April 2009 and a new Constitution in March 2010. The Government of the Pitcairn Islands is now in better shape than before to respond to the many governance challenges it faces.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office official is based on the island providing liaison with the Governor's Office and a sizeable community of "off-islander" professionals provide law and order, health and social welfare services. The Government provides budgetary aid of around £2 million per year-for the island population which is around 50-to cover 98% of Pitcairn's budgetary needs. The Wellington-based Governor and Deputy Governor visit at least once a year and, on her visit to the island in September 2010, our current Governor discussed with the community ongoing development work to move Pitcairn towards greater self-sustainability, including the Government's investment in a windpower project to reduce its reliance on diesel.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the Pitcairn Islands. 
Mr Bellingham: Our main international interlocutor in discussions regarding Pitcairn is New Zealand. My officials regularly liaise with, and are assisted by, New Zealand colleagues over a range of supply and support issues that affect Pitcairn. These include policing, the judiciary, and social welfare. Officials have also been in close contact with French and French Polynesian colleagues over medical evacuation and shipping issues. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have not been involved in any of these discussions ourselves.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on (a) freedom of speech in Uganda and (b) confiscation by the Ugandan authorities of copies of The Correct Line, Uganda under Museveni, by Dr Olive Kobusingye; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: Freedom of expression is a right recognised by the Constitution of Uganda. I am encouraged by some reports of progress in upholding this right, including the recent abolition of the crime of sedition by the Constitutional Court of Uganda, and continuing evidence of free and lively debate in Uganda's media. But I am concerned by reports of restrictions on freedom of expression, including the impounding by the Uganda Revenue Authority at Entebbe Airport of a shipment of Dr Kobusingye's book "The Correct Line, Uganda under Museveni".
I understand that the Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs, in a statement to the Ugandan Parliament on 19 October 2010, said that Dr Kobusingye's book had been impounded because of irregularities in the shipping documentation. This contradicted an earlier statement to Parliament by the Minister, in which he suggested that the shipment had been impounded for security reasons. I understand that part of the shipment has now been released and that Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper is serialising Dr Kobusingye's book for a wide readership.
We will continue to raise the importance of upholding fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, with the Government of Uganda. This will be particularly important as Uganda prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2011.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the treatment by Ugandan police of Dr Kizza Besigye on 9 June 2010; what assessment he has made of (a) the extent of implementation in Uganda of the 2006 recommendations of the EU and the Commonwealth on the Electoral Commission and (b) the prospect of free, fair and peaceful elections in Uganda; and if he will make a statement. 
On 9 June 2010, an opposition rally in Kampala led by Dr Kizza Besigye was broken up by the police. Members of a vigilante group known as the 'Kiboko Squad' assaulted Dr Besigye and other demonstrators. Members of the Kiboko Squad were arrested following the assault but were subsequently released without charge. We have raised concerns directly
with the head of Uganda's police and the Ugandan Government about the activities of the Kiboko Squad. We have also raised the importance of the police balancing its responsibility to maintain order with its duty to act as an independent body that respects the freedoms of expression and assembly.
We assess that Uganda has made some progress in improving the framework for its next elections in 2011, partly in response to the recommendations of the Observation Missions to the 2006 elections. These include amendments to electoral legislation and update of the voter register. We do however retain concerns about the evenness of the playing field between Government and Opposition, and challenges to freedom of expression and assembly. It will be particularly important to the prospects for free, fair and peaceful elections in 2011 that Uganda's Electoral Commission and the Ugandan police force demonstrate their independence and competence during the campaign period and in the organisation of the polls.
We are providing a range of assistance to support democratisation in Uganda, including technical support to the Electoral Commission through a Deepening Democracy Programme funded by the Department for International Development. We will also continue to raise the importance of free, fair and peaceful elections with the Ugandan authorities and Uganda's political leaders. I did so myself with President Museveni and Professor Ogenga Latigo, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, when I visited Uganda in July.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which programmes and projects he has funded to raise awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child overseas in the last five years. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: There are a number of funding sources within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which support the promotion of human rights around the world. This includes the Strategic Programme Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, which has as one of its key objectives the supporting of programmes and projects which promote the rights of the child. Many of our missions overseas use their Bilateral Programme Budget funds to promote the rights of children within their host countries. However, we do not centrally record specific child related projects that raise awareness of the convention as distinct from other objectives.
The UK also currently provides over £2.5 million in voluntary contributions to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some of this funding is used by the Office to support its work in monitoring and implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of quality management statements
in assisting with contract decisions by his Department; and what assessment he has made of the effects on the prospects for small businesses of winning contracts of such statements. 
Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change assesses quality statements at pre-qualification and tender stages and uses these to evaluate both the ability of the company to deliver the project and any value for money implications. A wide range of suppliers including small businesses have proved themselves successful in satisfying the requirements of quality management statements.
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many officials in his Department received bonuses and other payments in
each year since the Department's inception; and what the monetary value was of the largest 20 payments made in each such year. 
Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was created in October 2008. An element of DECC's overall pay award is allocated to in year and end of year non consolidated performance awards. These payments are used to drive high performance and are paid to members of staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, for example by exceeding targets set or meeting challenging objectives.
The following table shows the number of in year performance awards (figures based on the financial year) and end of year performance awards (based on due date of 1 April (SCS) and 1 August (non SCS) each year) that were awarded and the value of the largest 20 payments in each year.
|Number of recipients receiving an in year or end of year award||20 highest payments|
Awards ranged from 192 to £2,500 Highest 20 values were: £2,500 x 1, £1,000 x 2, £950 x 2, £750 x 11, £700 x 4
672 (comprising of 362 end of year awards) for performance during 2008-09
Awards ranged from £100 to £13,500 Highest 20 values were awarded as non consolidated end of year performance awards and were: £13,500 x l, £12,500 x 4, £12,000 x 1, £10,500 x 1, £10,000 x 12, £9,000 x 1
141 (comprising of 49 end of year awards) for performance during 2009-10
Awards ranged from £100 to £12,500 Highest 20 values were awarded as non consolidated end of year performance awards and were: £12,500 x 1, £10,000 x 5, £7,500 x 13, £7,000 x l
|(1) Figures only include in year awards as no end of year awards were payable by DECC for the 2008 period.|
(2) Figures only include in year and SCS end of year awards as the end of year awards for non SCS staff have not yet been paid.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many senior civil service staff his Department has recruited in each year since its inception; at what cost to the public purse such recruitment was undertaken in each such year; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: DECC was created in October 2008. In 2009 we held five senior civil service open competitions at a total cost of £220,212.45.
In 2010 we held one open competition at a cost of £25,675.70.
Open competitions were held to ensure that DECC recruited the best available candidates to take forward its new remit.
Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of households in Warwick and Leamington constituency in fuel poverty where all members of the household are over the age of 65. 
Gregory Barker: Sub-regional fuel poverty figures are not available split by age.
The most recently available sub-regional split of fuel poverty relates to 2006, and shows that there were around 6,600 fuel poor households across all age groups in the Warwick and Leamington constituency. This represents around 14% of all households.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on the Government's position as operator of last resort in the event of the insolvency of a private owner of a nuclear installation. 
Charles Hendry: Safety and security of nuclear installations are of paramount importance and would be key considerations for Government in the event that a nuclear operator became insolvent. The Government would of course consider each case in its specific circumstances and context.
Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what estimate he has made of the likely growth in the private sector of the Northern Ireland economy in each of the next three years; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the likely effects on the number of jobs in the (a) private and (b) public sector in Northern Ireland of the spending reductions announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Mr Paterson: It is now for Northern Ireland Ministers to set their budgets following the Spending Review announcement. The impact of the Spending Review on both the public and private sectors will depend on their decisions.
We are working closely with HM Treasury and Northern Ireland Executive Ministers on our shared objective of rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy on the basis of sustained growth in the private sector, and the Treasury will be publishing a consultation paper about this later in the year.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 11 October 2010, Official Report, column 516W, on the intelligence services, on what date each meeting at ministerial level was held in the last 12 months; and who attended each such meeting. 
Mr Paterson: The interface between my national security responsibilities and the responsibilities of the Northern Ireland Minister of Justice is facilitated by regular meetings between us. Representatives of the PSNI also attend. They have taken place on 19 May, 18 June, 27 July and 20 September 2010. They are supplemented by ad hoc consultation and information exchange as and when required.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many officials in the Government Equalities Office have been (a) subject to disciplinary action, (b) removed from post, (c) transferred to another position and (d) dismissed for matters relating to their (i) disciplinary record and (ii) performance in each year since 1997. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office was established in October 2007.
Since then, three officials have been subject to disciplinary action (one in 2008; two in 2009).
No officials have been removed from post, transferred to another Department or dismissed for matters relating to their disciplinary record or performance.
No disciplinary cases have occurred in 2010.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many days the Government Equalities Office has lost to staff sickness in each year since its inception; and what estimate she made of the cost to her Department of sickness absence in each such year. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was created in October 2007 and sickness absence data for GEO as a separate Department are available from October 2008.
The total working days lost to sickness absence and the estimated cost to the Department in each successive 12-month period are as follows:
|Period||Working days lost||Average gross cost (£)|
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many officials in the Government Equalities Office have had (a) fewer than five days, (b) five to 10 days, (c) 10 to 15 days, (d) 15 to 20 days, (e) 20 to 25 days, (f) 25 to 50 days, (g) 50 to 75 days, (h) 75 to 100 days, (i) 100 to 150 days, (j) 150 to 200 days, (k) more than 200 days, (l) more than three months, (m) more than six months and (n) one year on paid sick leave (i) consecutively and (ii) in total in each year since its inception. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was created in October 2007 and sickness absence data for GEO as a separate Department are available from October 2008.
The data requested in each successive 12-month period are as follows:
|Number of days||October 2008 to October 2009||November 2009 to October 2010|
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what estimate she has made of the cost to the Government Equalities Office of compliance with (a) domestic, (b) European and (c) other international human rights requirements in each year since its inception; and if she will make a statement. 
Lynne Featherstone: No separate estimates are made of Government Equalities Office costs in these areas.
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many contracts his Department has with Capita; and how much it has paid to Capita under such contracts in 2010-11 to date. 
Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice has seven formal contracts with Capita Group plc.
The total spend with Capita Group plc by the Ministry of Justice for the first quarter (April, May, June) 2010-11 was £1,527,592.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effects on HM Land Registry of the proposed reduction in his Department's budget announced in the comprehensive spending review; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effects on the operations of the Office of the Public Guardian of the proposed reduction in his Department's budget announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Ministry of Justice is developing firm plans to deliver its priorities within the funding baselines announced in the spending review. We will be consulting widely on proposals for change but as yet no internal budgets have been set.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Commission on a British Bill of Rights will consider the extent to which children's rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child are protected in UK law. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Government will make a statement to Parliament on the scope of the Commission on a Bill of Rights in due course.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions there were for offences relating to shop theft in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Blunt: According to data held by the Ministry of Justice, there were 72,813 defendants found guilty at all courts for offences of "stealing from shops and stalls" (shoplifting) under the Theft Act 1968 Sec 1, in England and Wales in 2009. These data, published on 21 October 2010, are the latest available.
The figure given relates to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on (a) caseload, (b) processing times and (c) the number of adjournments in courts in Devon and Cornwall of HM Courts Service expenditure reductions of (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30 per cent. 
Mr Djanogly: The outcome of the spending review for the Ministry of Justice was announced on 20 October. No assessment has yet been made of the effects of spending reductions on courts in Devon and Cornwall. The Government are committed to ensuring that there is an efficient and effective justice system.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many officials in his Department have been (a) subject to disciplinary action, (b) removed from post, (c) transferred to another position and (d) dismissed for matters relating to their (i) disciplinary record and (ii) performance in each year since its inception. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: The following table provides the numbers of MoJ and National Offender Management Service-NOMS-staff that have been dismissed from March 2007 to March 2010 and the reason for dismissal.
|Dismissals||March 2007 to March 2008||April 2008 to March 2009||April 2009 to March 2010|
The following figures provide the numbers of NOMS staff that have been regraded, as a result of disciplinary actions. Please note that NOMS are only able to provide this data from January 2009.
From 1 January 2009 to 31 March 2009 a total of four employees were downgraded/regraded of 359 employees who underwent conduct and disciplinary proceeding.
From 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 a total of 16 employees were downgraded/regraded of 891 employees who underwent conduct and disciplinary proceeding.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for how many days on average his Department's staff in each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in 2009-10. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: The figures requested are given in the following table:
|Grade||Average sickness (days)( 1)|
|(1) Average working days lost to sickness per staff year. For year ending 31 March 2010.|
Reducing sickness absence is a key priority for managers across MoJ and its agencies. Locally owned targets are in place for all business areas. These are supported by action plans with activities designed to tackle sickness absence through early intervention, continuing effective management of each case and encouraging staff to return to work as soon as they are able.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many days his Department has lost to staff sickness in each year since its inception; and what estimate he made of the cost to his Department of sickness absence in each such year. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: The days lost in the Ministry of Justice due to staff sickness in each year since its inception, were:
|April to March each year||Total days lost|
The estimated cost, to the Ministry of Justice, for the days lost in each year since its inception is:
|April to March each year||Estimated cost (£ million)|
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many officials in his Department have had (a) fewer than five days, (b) five to 10 days, (c) 10 to 15 days, (d) 15 to 20 days, (e) 20 to 25 days, (f) 25 to 50 days, (g) 50 to 75 days, (h) 75 to 100 days, (i) 100 to 150 days, (j) 150 to 200 days, (k) more than 200 days, (l) more than three months, (m) more than six months and (n) one year on paid sick leave (i) consecutively and (ii) in total in each year since 1997. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: In the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) these data are unavailable. Sickness absence data are collated centrally to provide information for management, but they are not reported on in the categories requested. Gathering the data requested would require analysing each notification of sickness absence sent in by managers across MoJ. This could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.
The Civil Service internet site includes published information in respect of sickness absence for the civil service as a whole, although reports do no go as far back as 1997.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he made of the cost to his Department and its non-departmental public bodies of compliance
with (a) domestic, (b) European and (c) other international human rights requirements in each year since its inception; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Ministry of Justice does not collate information on the costs of compliance with human rights requirements. The Ministry takes account of the domestic and international human rights framework in developing all its policies and practices, as it does other relevant legal obligations; an accurate estimate of the total cost of compliance with human rights obligations could not be made without incurring disproportionate cost.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners refused to comply with direction for a relocation to another prison in the latest period for which figures are available; and for what reason in each case. 
Mr Blunt: Data are not held centrally on the numbers of prisoners who have refused to comply with a move to another prison, nor for what reason they have refused to comply.
This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost as it would involve a manual trawl through the individual records of every prisoner to ascertain if they were compliant during each move to another prison.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of prisoners were released (a) before the scheduled end of sentence, (b) after the scheduled end of sentence and (c) on the day scheduled for the end of sentence in each year since 1997. 
Mr Blunt: The following table shows the total number of offenders released from determinate custodial sentences in each year from 1998-2009; the number and proportion who were released before the scheduled end of sentence; and the number and proportion who were released at or after the scheduled end of sentence. This is the most recent data available, and figures for 1997 are not held centrally.
The term "scheduled end of sentence" has been interpreted as the normal statutory release date when prisoners serving determinate sentences must be released automatically (e.g. the half-way point for prisoners serving a standard determinate sentence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003). Over the period 1998-2009, offenders could be released before their scheduled end of sentence under two early release schemes: Home Detention Curfew (which was introduced in 1999) and End of Custody Licence (which was introduced on 29 June 2007 and withdrawn in March 2010).
Using the data held centrally, it is not possible to distinguish between those released after and on the day of their scheduled end of sentence. The table therefore shows a total for these two groups.
These figures 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.
|Prisoners released from determinate sentences, 1998 to 2009|
1. ECL was introduced on 29 June 2007, so the total number of ECL releases in 2007 covers the period from 29 June-31 December 2007.
2. Figures for the total number of releases and releases not on HDC or ECL are rounded to the nearest 100.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on prisoner numbers in Devon and Cornwall of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (a) 10, (b) 20 and (c) 30%; 
(2) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on the (a) caseload of Devon and Cornwall Probation Service and (b) provision by that service of (i) court reports and (ii) supervision of people on parole licences of Probation Service spending reductions of (A) 10, (B) 20 and (C) 30%; 
(3) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on (a) staff headcount and (b) prisoners in Devon and Cornwall of Probation Service spending reductions of (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30%. 
Mr Blunt: To reduce the budget deficit, the Government are examining all areas of public expenditure, including the criminal justice system, to see where savings can be made. Now that the outcome of the Spending Review has been announced, the Ministry of Justice will decide how funding is to be allocated. We will work with Probation Trusts to ensure that they are able to provide the reports requested by the courts and to supervise offenders sentenced to community orders or on release from custody, in accordance with sentencing guidelines.
Work to protect the public and to reduce re-offending is a key priority. All Probation Trusts should ensure that savings are achieved by streamlining administration and improving working practices. Funding should be focused on front line services, to protect the public and reduce re-offending.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on education services for prisoners in each year since 1997. 
Mr Blunt: Education services for prisoners are funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), devolved to the Skills Funding Agency, formerly the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).
The Learning and Skills Council assumed responsibility for planning and funding the integrated Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) in England on 31 July 2006. OLASS funds the delivery of skills for offenders (aged 15 and over) held in English Public Sector prisons for both sentenced prisoners and those held on remand.
In Wales, from April 2006, commissioning responsibilities for offender learning and skills provision became the responsibility of Director of Offender Management in Wales. Responsibilities for learning and skills provision for those in custody in Wales transferred to the Welsh Assembly Government with effect from 1 April 2009.
Data are available on spend since 2001. The following Table 1 includes spend directly relating to the OLASS provision and also spend associated with the employment of Heads of Learning and Skills in prisons, libraries and Higher Education in public sector prisons in England and Wales.
|Total spend (£ million)|
£29 million of the growth between 2005-06 and 2009-10 (inclusive) was as a result of additional education allocations to support the places flowing from the prison Capacity Programme.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) provides both physical resources and staff to support educational activities for prisoners. It is not possible to separately identify these costs which are not held centrally.
Training for prisoners is undertaken, mainly by Prison Service staff, while prisoners work or are engaged in various areas such as prison industries, catering, physical education, land based activities, industrial cleaning and laundries. The central costs of the training elements of these, mainly production functions, are not kept centrally.
NOMS gained co-financing organisation status in January 2009 and successfully bid for a total of £50 million of European Social Funding to enhance the skills and employment services to offenders in prison and the community. NOMS has been granted the funding over 27 months to increase offenders' employability and improve their access to mainstream support provision. Funding has been extended into a second phase up to 2013.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners were engaged in education services in each year since 1997; and what the average cost to the public purse per prisoner was of providing such services. 
Mr Blunt: The information requested is not held.
The Skills Funding Agency is able to provide information on the number of learners engaged in learning and skills provision funded by the Skills Funding Agency, (formerly the Learning and Skills Council) from the Individualised Learner Records (ILR), and the budget allocated by Department for Education and Skills/Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills/Youth Justice Board in the 2006/07 academic year (August 2006 to July 2007), in the 2007/08 academic year (August 2007 to July 2008) and in the 2008/09 academic year (August 2008 to July 2009).
In the 2006/07 academic year, there were 92,371 learners engaged in learning and skills provision, funded by the Learning and Skills Council and the total budget allocated for the same period was £123 million(1). The average cost per learner was £1,327.
In the 2007/08 academic year, there were 115,807 learners engaged in learning and skills provision in custody, funded by the Learning and Skills Council and the total budget allocated for the same period was £142 million(1). The average cost per learner was £1,224.
In the 2008/09 academic year, there were 98,324 learners engaged in learning and skills provision in custody funded by the Learning and Skills Council and the total budget allocated for the same period was £160 million(1). The average cost per learner was £1,631.
(1)( )Direct Offenders Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) spend only. This does not include libraries, Heads of Learning and Skills and associated costs.
The number of learners and the Offenders' Learning and Skills budget identified includes those for Young Offenders aged 15-17. The Offenders Learning and Skills budget also includes spends on Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) service which was an integral part of OLASS contracts.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on food and refreshment services for prisoners (a) in total, (b) per prisoner per meal and (c) per prisoner per day in each year since 1997. 
Mr Blunt: The full cost of providing meals and beverages for prisoners in public sector prisons in England and Wales includes a number of elements. These include staff and prisoner labour, food, training (staff and prisoner), kitchen and servery facilities, utilities and other overheads, including management overheads, and all of these costs are not collected centrally.
It is however possible to separately identify the cost of food (including beverages-see Table 1. Responsibility for determining the establishment food budget lies with the governing Governor who will set aside a realistic sum that will meet the dietary needs of the population of the establishment.
Prisons provide breakfast, lunch and dinner together with all condiments and beverages. The estimated average food cost per meal per prisoner is based on the understanding that breakfast, lunch and dinner account for approximately 20%, 40% and 40% of the daily food expenditure. But these percentages will vary from one establishment to another and are for illustrative purposes only.
|Per prisoner per meal (for illustration only)|
|Year ending 31 March||Estimated total( 1) (£ million)||Breakfast||Lunch||Dinner||Estimated average daily food expenditure per prisoner( 1)|
|n/a = Not available.|
(1) The data have been calculated using available management information from the NOMS finance systems and assumes that all transactions have been allocated and recorded against the correct accounting codes.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average cost to the public purse per day of housing a prisoner in each category was in each year since 1997. 
Mr Blunt: The average direct establishment cost of keeping a person in prison for the years from 1997 is as detailed in the following table.
These average costs comprise the prison establishments' direct resource expenditure as published in the Annual Report and Accounts of Her Majesty's Prison Service (HMPS) (or for 2008-9 in an addendum to the NOMS Agency Annual Report and Accounts). Costs are allocated to categories on the basis of the major use of each prison at the end of each year.
In addition, for the two years 2007-08 and 2008-09 an overall cost per prisoner has been calculated and is included in the table. The overall average costs comprise the public and private sector establishments' direct resource expenditure, increased by an apportionment of costs borne centrally by HMPS and the National Offender Management Service. This involves some estimation. The figures do not include prisoners held in police and court cells under Operation Safeguard, nor expenditure met by other Government Departments (e.g. for health and education). The prisoner escort service is included.
Due to changes in scope and accounting treatment over this period, the figures are not necessarily directly comparable. Figures are subject to rounding.
Figures for 2009-10 are being produced and will be published later in the year.
|Establishments' cost per prisoner per day||Overall cost per prisoner per day|
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to enable prisoners to give media interviews; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Blunt: It is currently possible for prisoners to have access to journalists in order to give interviews but these are conducted under very strict conditions and only in exceptional circumstances, as set out in Prison Service Instruction 37/2010 which is available in the Library and on the Prison Service website.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many additional days were added to prisoners' sentences in each of the last 10 years; and for what reasons days were so added in each such year. 
Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service records the number of findings of guilt against prisoners at internal disciplinary hearings (adjudications) where additional days were imposed. This information is given in the following table. Some prisoners may have received more than one award of added days. The table also shows the type of offence for which added days were awarded. More detailed figures on offences and punishments are available in "Prison Statistics England and Wales" for the years 2000-02, and the Offender Management Caseload Statistics for the years 2003-09, on the Ministry of Justice website at:
|Number of punishments of additional days imposed, and types of offence|
'Violence' includes assault, fighting and detaining against another person's will. 'Disobedience/disrespect' includes disobeying a lawful order, threatening behaviour and refusal to work. 'Unauthorised transactions' includes possession of unauthorised items and drug offences.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persons convicted of (a) between five and nine, (b) between 10 and 14 and (c) 15 or more offences in each of the last three years did not receive a custodial sentence for any such offence. 
Mr Blunt: The following table shows the total number of offenders sentenced, number of offenders who do not receive an immediate custodial sentence and percentage of offenders who do not receive an immediate custodial sentence. These figures are derived from table 6.2 of 'Sentencing Statistics: England and Wales 2009' which was published on 21 October 2010 and gives a breakdown of offenders sentenced by number of previous convictions and cautions.
|Number and percentage of offenders who were sentenced for indictable offences by number of previous c onvictions and cautions, 2007- 09|
Number of offenders who do not receive an immediate custodial sentence
Percentage of offenders who do not receive an immediate custodial sentence
The figures have been drawn from the police's administrative IT system, the police national computer, which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the police.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many owners of small businesses employing 10 people or fewer have applied to participate in the employment tribunal system since May 2010. 
Mr Djanogly: As the respondent to an employment tribunal claim, an employer can provide details to the tribunal on the number of people employed by the business. This information may assist the tribunal in understanding the context of the claim. However, the employment tribunal does not hold information centrally on the number of owners of businesses, employing 10 people or fewer, who have applied to participate in the tribunal system as there is no business need or benefit in doing so. The information can be provided only at a disproportionate cost by manually checking each individual case file. Even then, the data contained in case files may not necessarily identify the number of people employed as the disclosure of this information is not mandatory.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how many days on average his Department's staff in each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in 2009-10. 
Mr Robathan: Sickness absence rates by average working days lost (AWDL) per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee in the Ministry of Defence for the 12 months ending 30 June 2010, the latest information available, are shown in the following table.
The table includes non-industrial and industrial staff and the staff of the four MOD trading funds, but excludes staff in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and locally engaged civilians for whom sickness absence data are not readily available.
|FTE rates( 1, 2)|
|Grade (equivalent)( 3)||July 2009 to 30 June 2010|
|(1) Data presented reflect the current Cabinet Office definition, setting a maximum absence of 225 days per person, and excludes data for weekends, annual leave and bank holidays. Excludes staff who have been classed as on zero pay.|
(2) Average working days lost per full-time equivalent are calculated by dividing the total working days lost for each period by a weighted average of the first of the month strengths for the period, with the strengths at 1 January at the start and end of the period receiving a weighting of 0.5, and the strengths at the first of the other months in the period a weighting of 1.
(3) Equivalent civil service grades have been used to amalgamate the various MOD non-industrial, industrial and trading fund grades.
The MOD is committed to reducing sickness absence and occupational health advice and support is available to all employees and their line managers. Guidance and training is available to line managers on managing absence; we actively encourage the use of return to work interviews and have trigger points in place for the commencement of management action. We are currently reviewing all of our absence policies.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials in his Department have had (a) fewer than five days, (b) five to 10 days, (c) 10 to 15 days, (d) 15 to 20 days, (e) 20 to 25 days, (f) 25 to 50 days, (g) 50 to 75 days, (h) 75 to 100 days, (i) 100 to 150 days, (j) 150 to 200 days, (k) more than 200 days, (l) more than three months, (m) more than six months and (n) one year on paid sick leave (i) consecutively and (ii) in total in each year since 1997. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence is committed to reducing sickness absence, and occupational health advice and support is available to all employees and their line managers. Guidance and training is available to line managers on managing absence; we actively encourage the use of return to work interviews and have trigger points in place for the commencement of management action. We are currently reviewing all of our absence policies.
Data on the number of working days taken by civilian staff in the format required cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs. The Cabinet Office has published annual sickness absence reports for the civil service from 2003 to 2007, these can be viewed at the following website:
From January 2008 the MOD has submitted sickness absence rates to the Cabinet Office in terms of the total number of days lost through sickness absence split between short-term and long-term sickness absence. Long-term absence is defined as over 28 consecutive calendar days.
The following table shows the number of days lost through sickness absence over a rolling 12-month period. The table includes non-industrial and industrial staff and the staff of the four MOD Trading Funds, but excludes staff in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and locally engaged civilians for whom sickness absence data is not readily available.
|Period of sickness absence||Days lost (short - term)||Days lost (long - term)|
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the written ministerial statement of 21 April 2009, Official Report, columns 6-7WS, on nuclear test veterans' health research, what progress his Department has made on identifying the research required to investigate the health needs of nuclear test veterans; when he expects to receive the report of the working group established to take the projects forward; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 22 October 2010]: The Ministry of Defence remains concerned about the health and well-being of those who have served and in that context, following discussion with veterans' representatives, has now placed a contract to take forward a health needs audit of Nuclear Test Veterans (NTV). The audit will gather and record the direct experience and views of NTV in relation to their health and social care needs, and there will be scope to include input from veterans about their children's experiences.
The work is being earned out by Miles and Green Associates, an independent health consultancy. They will be using a postal survey and hold focus groups around the UK. Miles and Green are liaising closely with the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association to develop the detailed scope of the audit and promote participation among veterans. The work began in September 2010 and is expected to take about six to eight months to complete and report.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the recommendations relating to his Department of the report by the Government Office for Science, Foresight on Mental Capital and Wellbeing; if he will ensure that his Department's policy development process takes account of psychological research into subjective wellbeing; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 21 October 2010]: In addition to the wider approach taken by the Department of Health, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the NHS, the report's relevance to the Ministry of Defence civilian staff relates, in the main, to policies to improve well-being at work, employee support, flexible working, training and development, managing sickness absence, and providing meaningful jobs. The Department already has robust policies in place for these areas.
The Department also has a wide range of measures in place to monitor and manage the mental health and well-being of military personnel. Research by the Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health confirms that personnel benefit greatly by being within well-led units with good support from their colleagues, and managing this is a key chain of command responsibility.
The Defence Medical Services deploy uniformed mental health staff on major operations to provide advice, assessment and care to personnel in theatre. In the UK. community-based mental health care is available at 15 MOD-run regional Departments of Community Mental Health (plus centres overseas), while in-patient care, when necessary, is provided in specialist NHS mental health facilities.
We are always looking for ways in which our mental health services can be extended, and a report into the provision of mental health support to the armed forces and ex-service personnel (commissioned by the Prime Minister from my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) was published earlier this month. This makes a wide-ranging number of recommendations that the MOD and Department of Health will be looking to introduce. Two of the key recommendations are due to be introduced immediately: a dedicated 24-hour support line for veterans, and the placing of 30 dedicated mental health nurses in mental health trusts to ensure the right support is organised specifically for veterans.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|