Offenders: Mental Illness

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to reduce crime amongst offenders diagnosed as having two or more mental illnesses. [111641]

Mr Blunt: Information specific to offenders who have two or more clinically diagnosed mental illnesses is not held centrally.

It is unlikely that most offenders with mental disorders offend primarily as a direct result of their disorder. It may however be a contributory factor and may also undermine an individual's ability to engage with interventions which support rehabilitation and reduce reoffending.

We are committed to tackling the underlying physical and mental health issues which some offenders have. Our priority is to ensure that those with mental health problems are identified as early as possible in the criminal justice system, so that the right treatment can be provided in the most appropriate setting. An example of this is the reconfiguration of services for offenders with personality disorder, so that disorders can be identified earlier and more offenders offered effective treatment.

We are working closely with the Department of Health to deliver the commitments outlined in the Mental Health Strategy 2011 and the Breaking the Cycle Green Paper including:

Further developing liaison and diversion services for offenders with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities in police

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custody suites and at courts, and rolling out these services by 2014 (subject to business case approval); and

testing options for intensive, treatment based alternatives to custody.

In addition, provision in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 will make it easier for courts to use the mental health treatment requirement as part of community orders by simplifying the assessment process and ensuring that those who require treatment receive it as early as possible.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what (a) meetings he has had with and (b) representations he has received from PortalCo on the practicality of implementing changes to the RTA portal by April 2013, in respect of inclusion of (i) higher value road traffic accidents, (ii) employers' liability claims, (iii) public liability claims; and if he will make a statement; [110535]

(2) when he expects to publish draft rules to extend the RTA portal to (a) higher value road traffic accidents, (b) employers' liability claims and (c) public liability claims; and if he will make a statement; [110536]

(3) what his definition is of a public liability personal injury claim; [110537]

(4) how many and what proportion of claims dropped out of the RTA portal at each stage in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; and what the predominant reason was for dropping out at each stage; [110538]

(5) how many and what proportion of claims for (a) road accidents, (b) employers' liability and (c) public liability dealt with in the (i) fast track and (ii) portal he estimates will be dealt with under the small claims system under his proposal to increase the limit for small claims to £5,000; and if he will make a statement; [110632]

(6) if he will place a copy of Professor Fenn's report on the Road Traffic Accident portal system in the Library; [110633]

(7) what his policy is on the use of the Road Traffic Accident portal by unrepresented claimants when bringing a personal injury claim; and whether such claimants will be required to use the portal in the event of an increase in the small claims limit; [110637]

(8) what assessment he has made of the likely change in the number and proportion of claims that will enter the Road Traffic Accidents portal if his proposal to increase the small claims limit for personal injury claims to £5,000 is implemented. [110644]

Mr Djanogly: (1) The Government have announced their intention to extend the Pre-Action Protocol for low value personal injury claims in road traffic accidents (the RTA Protocol) on 9 February 2012. The extended scheme will be implemented by April 2013 and will include road traffic accident, employer's liability and public liability claims up to a value of £25.000. I met with members of the RTA Portal Company Board on 1 March 2012 to discuss issues arising from the extension in terms of the modification of the RTA Portal. On 22 March 2012, I hosted a roundtable meeting to discuss

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issues relating to the extension with key stakeholders, including representatives of the RTA Portal Company.

I have not received any written representations on these issues directly from the RTA Portal Company, other than in connection with these meetings. However, I am aware of the company's concerns about the practicality of implementing modifications to the RTA Portal resulting from extension of the RTA Protocol by April 2013, and my officials are working with the company to address these concerns.

(2) The revision of the RTA Protocol and the supporting Civil Procedure Rules is being taken forward by a sub-committee of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee. It is not appropriate, therefore, for me to comment on the timing of the publication of any such revision. Any modification of the RTA Portal is a matter for the RTA Portal Company.

(3) The definition of a public liability personal injury claim for the purposes of the extended RTA personal injury scheme will be set out in the relevant Pre-Action Protocol.

(4) The RTA Portal is run by the RTA Portal Company, which is a privately owned and privately funded enterprise. Therefore, this Department does not hold the information requested. However, I understand from the RTA Portal Company that since its go-live date in April 2010:

the main reason for drop out at Stage 1 is timeout in the absence of a decision by the insurer with regard to liability (356,529), representing 26% of submitted claims; and

the predominant reason for drop out at Stage 2 is caused by a timeout for no response (34,335) which represents 2.5% of submitted claims.

The RTA Portal Company does not hold information about cases which have proceeded to Stage 3, as this is not a function of the RTA Portal.

(5) The potential impact of increasing the small claims personal injury limit on the number and proportion of RTA, employer's liability and public liability claims using the fast track and the RTA Protocol will be assessed in the light of responses to the forthcoming consultation on increasing that limit.

(6) I can confirm that a copy of Professor Fenn's report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses on publication.

(7) The RTA Pre-action Protocol allows unrepresented claimants to bring a personal injury claim. The operation of the RTA Portal in this regard is a matter for the RTA Portal Company. The use of the RTA Protocol and RTA Portal by such claimants in the event of an increase to the small claims PI limit will be reviewed in the light of the forthcoming consultation.

(8) The potential impact of increasing the small claims personal injury limit on use of the RTA Protocol (and, therefore, on use of the RTA Portal) will be assessed in the light of responses to the forthcoming consultation on increasing that limit.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what (a) discussions he has had with and (b) representations he has received from (i) the medical professional bodies, (ii) the insurance industry, (iii) private medical companies and (iv) other private medical bodies on his proposal for a panel of doctors for whiplash claims; and if he will make a statement; [110631]

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(2) on what dates he has met representatives of the insurance industry to discuss his proposed increase in the small claims limit for personal injury claims; what matters were discussed; and what other representations he has received from the insurance industry on this proposal; [110638]

(3) what discussions he has had with Lord Justice Jackson on his proposed increase in the small claims limit for personal injury claims; and what matters were raised during these discussions. [110639]

Mr Djanogly: On 2 May 2012 I attended an insurance summit and confirmed the Ministry of Justice will be consulting on:

(i) options to raise the small claims threshold for personal injury claims

(ii) the use of independent medical panels

There have been no ministerial discussions with representatives from medical professional bodies, the insurance industry or private medical companies about these issues. However, as part of the consultation development process, we will engage with stakeholders prior to the launch of the proposed consultation on this issue in July.

Representations on the use of independent medical panels have been received from:

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

The British Osteopathic Association

Medicals Direct Group Health

Medicolegal Wessex

IPRS Group

NeuroPAS Global LLC

The Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital

The Association of British Insurers

No discussions have been held with Lord Justice Jackson on the proposal to consult on raising the small claims limit for personal injury claims.

Prisoner Escapes

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what reports he has received of the escape of and attempts to recapture John Anslow; and if he will make a statement. [111368]

Mr Blunt: The Prison Service investigation into this incident has now been completed and the recommendations made as a result of the inquiry are being implemented. Criminal investigations by the police into the case continue. It is anticipated that a written ministerial statement relating to the Prison Service investigation will be made before summer recess.

Prisoners on Remand: Females

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many women from Redditch are being held in custody. [111000]

Mr Blunt: As at 25 May there were two female offenders originating from the Redditch constituency area who were held in female prisons.

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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.

Information on offenders' residences is provided by offenders on reception into prison and recorded on a central IT system. Addresses can include a home address, an address to which offenders intend to return on discharge or next of kin address.

If no address is given, an offender's committal court address is used as a proxy for the area in which they are resident. This is the case for one of the prisoners in this answer. No address has been recorded and no court information is available for around 3% of all offenders.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many individuals sentenced to jail in the UK were transferred to serve their sentences in other EU member states in each year since 2009 under the terms of EU Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA; and how many individuals sentenced to jail in other EU member states were transferred to serve their sentence in the UK under that decision in each year since 2009. [111069]

Mr Blunt: Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union was adopted on 27 November 2008. It entered into force on 5 December 2011. To date nine member states including the United Kingdom have implemented the framework decision. No prisoners have yet been transferred into or out of the United Kingdom under this arrangement.

Probation

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many individuals subject to probation measures imposed in the UK have had their probation measures supervised by the authorities of another EU member state under the terms of EU Council Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA in each year since 2009; and how many individuals subject to probation measures imposed in other EU member states have had their probation measures supervised by the UK authorities under that decision in each year since 2009. [111066]

Mr Blunt: To date, no offenders subject to community sentences imposed by courts in the United Kingdom have been supervised by the authorities of another EU member state; and no offenders sentenced in other EU member states have been supervised by authorities in the UK under the terms of Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA.

Reparation by Offenders

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what offences he proposes that restorative justice practices will be applied. [111957]

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Mr Blunt: Restorative justice offers victims an opportunity to be heard and to have a say in the resolution of offences. It can only meaningfully take place where the offender admits responsibility and both they, and their victim, are fully able and willing to engage in a restorative process.

We plan to develop a cross-criminal justice system framework for restorative justice to provide guidance to local practitioners on how restorative approaches can be effectively developed across the system and when they will be appropriate. We will draw upon existing evidence and practices that are already in place with the aim of spreading best practice across the system.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will consult the victims of serious crime on the use of restorative justice practices. [111958]

Mr Blunt: Restorative justice can only meaningfully take place where the offender admits responsibility and both they, and their victim, are fully able and willing to engage in a restorative process.

The Government's response to the ‘Getting it right for Victims and Witnesses’ consultation will be published shortly. This will set out the additional work we propose to undertake to enhance the roles of, and engagement of victims in restorative justice.

Road Traffic Offences

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to reform the criminal justice system in order to improve public safety and the performance of the Probation Service; and what the outcomes of these initiatives were. [111640]

Mr Blunt: On 27 March we published proposals to deliver more effective and efficient probation services, alongside proposals for reforming community sentences. The Government are seeking to extend competition in probation services and give probation trusts a stronger role as commissioners of competed services, in order to better punish and reform offenders and protect the public. The consultation closes on 22 June.

This Government have also legislated to introduce police and crime commissioners, who will have a crucial role to play in this context. In addition to their core policing function, police and crime commissioners will have a remit to cut crime, and will have commissioning powers and funding to enable them to do this. The

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Government expect police and crime commissioners to work constructively with other local leaders to transform services aimed at improving public safety.

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what proportion of appeals to the Tribunals Service regarding (a) disability living allowance, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) income support, (d) jobseeker's allowance and (e) tax credits were successful in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012 from appellants in (A) Coventry, (B) the West Midlands and (C) England; [111632]

(2) what the average length of time was for the Tribunals Service to administer a First-Tier Tribunal social security and child support appeal in respect of employment and support allowance from appellants in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012. [111633]

Mr Djanogly: Appeals against decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions on an individual's entitlement to social security and child support are heard by the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support).

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) does not hold data specific to Coventry or the West Midlands. However, the majority of social security and child support (SSCS) appeals from appellants in Coventry are heard in the hearing venue in Coventry, although this venue also hears appeals from other nearby locations.

The majority of SSCS appeals made by appellants from the West Midlands are heard in the hearing venues in Birmingham, Coventry, Hereford, Stoke, Wolverhampton, Worcester and Kidderminster, although these venues also hear appeals from other nearby locations.

The data are provided for the financial year 2010-11, as data broken down by financial year is more readily available, and for the period from 1 April to 31 December 2011, the latest date for which information is available.

The following table shows the proportion of appeals regarding (a) disability living allowance, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) income support, (d) jobseeker's allowance and (e) tax credits which were successful in the financial year 2010-11 and from 1 April to 31 December 2011 (the latest date for which information is available) at the hearing venues in Coventry, the West Midlands and England.

Successful appeals
Percentage
 CoventryWest MidlandsEngland
 2010-111 April to 31 December 20112010-111 April to 31 December 20112010-111 April to 31 December 2011

Disability living allowance

39

45

29

30

38

39

Employment and support allowance

33

34

29

33

37

37

Income support

27

54

31

31

29

26

Jobseeker’s allowance

20

14

19

16

14

16

Tax credits

(1)0

15

15

8

10

10

(1 )The figure appears as 0% due to the very small number of appeals. There were nine tax credit appeals heard in the Coventry hearing venue in 2010-11.

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The following table shows the average time taken from receipt of an employment and support allowance (ESA) appeal to disposal by the tribunal in the financial year 2010-11 and from 1 April to 31 December 2011 (the latest date for which information is available) at the hearing venues in Coventry, the West Midlands and England.

ESA appeal times from receipt to disposal
Weeks
 2010-111 April to 31 December 2011

Coventry

21.1

36.3

West Midlands

22.5

33.3

England

19.3

24.7

HMCTS is working hard to increase the capacity of the SSCS Tribunal and reduce waiting times. It has implemented a range of measures which include recruiting more judges and medical panel members; increasing administrative resources; securing additional hearing venues; increasing the number of cases listed in each tribunal session; running double shifts in its largest processing centre; running Saturday sittings in some of the busiest venues; and setting up a customer contact centre to deal with telephone enquiries.

All of this is having a positive effect. The number of disposals has increased significantly from 279,000 in 2009-10 to 380,000 in 2010-11 and the tribunal expects

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to have disposed of around 435,000 appeals in 2011-12, with the capacity for half a million disposals in 2012-13. Disposals outstripped receipts for the 12 months between January 2011 and December 2011, and the number of cases waiting to be heard reduced by over 44,000 between April and December 2011. The average waiting time has stabilised nationally, and is beginning to fall across many venues.

Squatting

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Government plan to review the law on adverse property possession. [110930]

Mr Djanogly: We have no plans to review the law of England and Wales relating to the ownership of land by adverse possession.

Terrorism: Ex Gratia Payments

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications his Department has received for the ex gratia scheme for victims of terrorist acts overseas. [111369]

Mr Blunt: As at week commencing 12 June 2012, there have been a total of 12 applications to the ex gratia scheme for certain victims of terrorism overseas which opened on 16 April this year.