Work and Pensions

Child Maintenance

Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what trace methods are used by the Child Support Agency on a routine basis to identify a confident address for a non-resident parent whose whereabouts are uncertain; [148761]

(2) in cases selected for inclusion in his Department's trial of the Australian model of recording and reporting arrears currently not regarded as collectable, what trace methods are used to try and identify the whereabouts of a non-resident parent, before a parent with care is notified that child maintenance arrears which are owed will not be pursued for the following 12 months, because the Child Support Agency cannot currently trace the non-resident parent. [148777]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 653W

Steve Webb: When a non-resident parent's whereabouts are unknown, there are a number of tools and sources of information that caseworkers routinely use to trace them. These include:

Phoning the parent with care, who may know where their child's other parent is living.

Information sourced from the Customer Information Service (CIS), a computer system used by DWP and other Government Departments to store basic identifying information and a record of benefits claimed over the past two to three years.

Internet directories like bt.com.

Credit reference agencies.

HMRC.

Local authorities.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVLNI).

Accountants, Companies and Partnerships and/or Companies House (if the non-resident parent is self-employed).

The Ministry of Defence, the Veteran's Agency or Xafinity (if the non-resident parent is or has been in the armed forces).

The National Offenders Management Service (if the non-resident parent is or has been in prison).

The non-resident's employer or previous employer.

The Department began the reclassification of arrears trial in June 2012, and this limited trial will continue until the end of October 2013.

Where a case has been selected for inclusion in this trial, it will have recently been subject to all the appropriate tracing activities before a decision is taken to inactivate the arrears.

Following a decision to reclassify arrears on a case, where possible the parent with care is contacted and informed of the decision and given a further opportunity to provide any new information in order to enable the Department to pursue the arrears owed. It is also open to any parent with care with inactive arrears on their case to provide further information at any point, which can lead to the arrears being reclassified as active.

Child Poverty

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of children living in poverty in Barrow-in-Furness constituency in each of the last five years. [148472]

Esther McVey: This information is not available.

The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets four income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty (all before housing costs have been taken into account). Estimates of these are published in the National Statistics Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

Information for the Barrow and Furness constituency is not available as the sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide robust estimates.

Three-year averages are used to report statistics by region and country, as single-year estimates are subject to volatility. The latest figures for relative and absolute

19 Mar 2013 : Column 654W

low income for England and for the North West Region covering the last five years (up until 2008-09 to 2010-11) and latest figures for combined low income and material deprivation can be found in the latest HBAI publication, available at the following link:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2011/index.php?page=contents

(ISBN 978-1-78153-046-7).

Relevant figures can be found in Table 4.db (on page 115) for the latest relative low income and combined low income and material deprivation proportions, Table 4.17ts (on page 136) for relative low income for the last five years and Table 4.23ts (on page 142) for absolute low income for the last five years.

Income matters, but considering this in isolation fails to properly reflect the reality of child poverty in the UK today. We want to develop better measures of child poverty which include income but provide a more accurate picture of the reality of child poverty. Our consultation on how best to measure child poverty closed on 15 February. A large volume of responses was received and all of these are being read and analysed to ensure that all important points are captured and used to help Ministers decide on the next steps.

Employment and Support Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the target is for decisions per day on entitlement to employment and support allowance set by his Department for decision makers; and how that target has changed since 2008. [149067]

Mr Hoban: The Department has never set targets for decisions per day on entitlement to employment and support allowance for decision makers; individual performance is monitored and compared against productivity measures, which can vary depending on the decision maker experience. These measures can change yearly to take into account other activities relevant to the delivery of the service at that time and cannot, therefore, be compared with one another.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many (a) applications were submitted and (b) decisions on entitlement were made in respect of employment and support allowance in each (i) benefit delivery centre and (ii) jobcentre in the last year; [149068]

(2) how many decisions per day on entitlement to employment and support allowance were made (a) by all his Department's decision makers, (b) in each of his Department's benefit delivery centres and (c) in each jobcentre in the last 12 months. [149051]

Mr Hoban: The information is not available; the Department's MI systems do not go down to the level of detail required to identify decisions specific to ESA entitlement.

Housing Benefit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on future allocations of discretionary housing payments to local authorities; and if he will make a statement. [148624]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 655W

Steve Webb: There is no change to the way in which discretionary housing payments are allocated to local authorities.

The basis on which the various elements of discretionary housing payment funds for 2013-14 were distributed to local authorities is described in a housing benefit circular, which can be found at

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/s1-2013.pdf

However, as legislation will now provide for foster carers, the £5 million that was to be allocated to the discretionary housing payment fund for foster carers will be reallocated to programme spend. Revised allocations will therefore be issued shortly.

Housing Benefit: Cumbria

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional funding for discretionary housing payments has been allocated to (a) Barrow-in-Furness council and (b) South Lakeland council in (i) 2012-13 and (ii) 2013-14. [148471]

Steve Webb: Barrow-in-Furness received £38,479 towards discretionary housing payments in 2012/13 and will receive £99,921 in 2013/14.

South Lakeland received £47,049 in 2012/13 and will receive £95,456 in 2013/14.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the statement of 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 9WS, on housing benefit reform, if he will extend the exemption from the under-occupancy penalty to those foster carers who have more than one spare room and who have fostered more than one child at a time in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [148968]

Steve Webb: This reform is about fairness and making best use of our existing, limited social housing stock in order to reduce pressure on social housing allocations so that fewer families have to be placed in temporary accommodation. Given that many families live in overcrowded housing, it is appropriate to allow one additional room under the under-occupation measure. This will not necessarily prevent a foster carer from taking in siblings, especially young children or children of the same sex.

If a single foster carer, or a couple fostering live alone in a three bedroom property and have two spare rooms that may be unoccupied for periods of time, they will need to make choices as to how the second room will be funded. They will also be able to apply to the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme.

The Government's intention has always been that this group should have some protection, which is why £5 million was originally allocated to the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme. Amending the regulations will put this beyond doubt.

Jobcentre Plus

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether, in circumstances where a jobseeker misses a Jobcentre appointment owing to

19 Mar 2013 : Column 656W

attending a job interview, it is a requirement that that person's jobseeker's allowance be reduced or withdrawn. [147166]

Mr Hoban: If a person can show that they had a good reason for missing a Jobcentre appointment, they should not have their JSA sanctioned. Attending a job interview which directly clashed with their Jobcentre interview should be classed as being a good reason.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of internet access devices that will be installed in jobcentres in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [149039]

Mr Hoban: There are currently:

(a) 12

(b) 48

(c) 299

(d) 2,167

Mobile Phones

Mr Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which company holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to his Department; how much is paid each year under that contract; how many individual devices are covered by the contract; when the contract was awarded; and when and how the contract will next be reviewed. [148259]

Mr Hoban: DWP acquire mobile telephony services from BT under the terms of the ICONS (Integrated Communications and Network Services) contract, an umbrella agreement that includes mobile telephony provision.

From 1 October 2010 BT subcontracted to Vodafone for the provision of mobile telephony services. This sub-contracting arrangement is used to enable DWP to access central Government tariffs that were the subject of an agreement between Cabinet Office and Vodafone.

The amounts paid for mobile telephony services under the contract each year (for the last three financial years) are as follows:

 £ million

2010-11

3.9

2011-12

3

2012-13 year to date (April to February)

2.5

As at February 2013 the contract covered 18,632 mobile devices. This figure comprises:

Mobiles: 12,159

Blackberry: 2,194

3G Dongles: 4,279.

The Vodafone tariffs are currently under review through a benchmarking exercise that is ongoing.

The future of the ICONS contract (currently scheduled to expire March 2014) is also under review and the intention is to replace it with a series of contracts let through tendering exercises via the Public Services Network framework agreement. While the PSN tendering exercises progress, work is ongoing to extend the current ICONS agreement to facilitate orderly transfer of responsibility from the current incumbent to future PSN supplier(s).

19 Mar 2013 : Column 657W

New Enterprise Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have received the new enterprise allowance to date; and how many of those recipients have been in receipt of disability living allowance. [149098]

Mr Hoban: From January 2011 up to and including November 2012 there have been 31,540 new enterprise allowance (NEA) mentor starts and 15,210 weekly allowance starts. Values have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Data on the number of NEA recipients that have been in receipt of disability living allowance are not readily available.

These figures are based upon official Get Britain Working measures available via the DWP website. They can be found here:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/pwp/pwp_gbw_feb13.pdf

Sickness Absence

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff of his Department were dismissed owing to sickness absence in the period from 1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013; and how many of those dismissed during this period had been absent due to sickness for fewer than (a) nine days in the 12 months prior to the date of dismissal, (b) three days in the six months prior to that date and (c) 1.5 days in the three months prior to that date. [147916]

Mr Hoban: In the Department for Work and Pensions 540 employees were dismissed for unsatisfactory attendance in the period from 1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013. The majority of these dismissals were for long-term sickness absence (absences of 28 days or more).

Of the 540:

(a) 13 employees were dismissed for fewer than nine days sickness absence in the 12 months prior to the date of dismissal.

(b) Five employees were dismissed for fewer than three days sickness absence in the six months prior to that date.

(c) Four employees were dismissed for fewer than 1.5 days in the three months prior to that date.

The Department has a formal point of eight days of absence (pro rata for employees who do not work every day) in any rolling 12-month period at which warnings are considered (this may be increased as a reasonable adjustment for disabled employees). This is comparable with organisations in both the public and private sectors. The policy is clear, however, that this is the point at which action is considered and managers are encouraged to utilise the discretion afforded them within the policy.

Nobody is dismissed from the Department without being given time and help to improve their attendance; dismissal is not a step which is taken lightly.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies have had (i) fewer than five days, (ii) five to 10 days, (iii) 10 to 15 days, (iv) 15 to 20 days, (v) 20 to 25 days, (vi) 25 to 50 days, (vii) 50 to 75 days, (viii) 75 to 100 days, (ix) 100 to 150 days, (x) 150 to 200 days, (xi) more than

19 Mar 2013 : Column 658W

200 days, (xii) more than three months, (xiii) more than six months and (xiv) more than one year on paid sick leave (A) consecutively and (B) in total in each of the last five years. [148017]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Social Security Benefits

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to ensure that initial decisions on (a) new employment and support allowance applications and (b) incapacity benefit reassessments are made correctly. [148895]

Mr Hoban: Following recommendations made in Professor Harrington's first independent review of the work capability assessment we have introduced changes to the decision making process. This applies for both employment and support allowance claims and incapacity benefit reassessment cases.

We have improved the way we communicate with claimants, including enhanced communications to explain the process more clearly. We have also introduced a decision assurance call where the decision maker rings the claimant to discuss the proposed decision and give them the opportunity to provide additional evidence before the final decision is made.

Additionally, to put the decision makers back at the heart of the process, and empower them to make independent decisions, we have introduced a decision makers reasoning which explains the rationale for each decision.

To improve the quality of decisions made and in line with the “right first time” approach we have also introduced a regular audit of decision maker performance, where checks are conducted on a sample of both ESA and IB decisions. This is called the quality assessment framework.

We are not complacent and continue to monitor the operation of the work capability assessment to ensure it is more effective and fairer for all.

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) 0800, (b) 0808, (c) 0844, (d) 0845 and (e) 0870 telephone numbers for the public are in use by (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible. [147829]

Mr Hoban: The Department delivers 34 ‘0800’ telephone numbers and 200 ‘0845’ telephone numbers. This includes both English and Welsh language lines and Textphones. The Department does not use any 0808, 0844 or 0870 telephone numbers. The Department's operational area encompasses working age, pension age, disability and carers, child maintenance and debt management service lines.

Unemployment: Young People

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to address youth unemployment; and if he will make a statement. [149110]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 659W

Mr Hoban: Jobcentre Plus personal advisers offer a comprehensive menu of help that includes job search support and skills provision. Advisers have the flexibility to tailor support to the individual at the most appropriate point in their claim. Get Britain Working measures offer additional support, including Work Clubs, work experience, New Enterprise Allowance, Enterprise Clubs and sector-based work academies.

The Work programme provides tailored support to those claimants furthest from the labour market. Young claimants are referred to a provider after nine months and those with more challenging barriers to work can be referred at three months. Providers are paid on the results they achieve, and are paid more for supporting the harder to help into work.

The Youth Contract will provide nearly half a million new opportunities for young people—including wage incentives, incentives to take on apprentices, and extra work experience placements. Extra funding is being made available to support the most vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, employment or training into learning, an apprenticeship or job with training.

Welfare Reform Act 2012

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate what the (a) total and (b) average annual savings of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 has been. [148946]

Mr Hoban: The figures are in the following table.

Estimated DWP savings from Welfare Reform Act 2012 measures
 £ million

2012/13

595

2013/14

3,010

2014/15

4,485

Total

8,090

Annual average

2,695

Notes: 1. No estimate of actual savings has yet been made, as outturn figures for the first year since the Act are not yet available. 2. Measures included are: Disability living allowance: reform gateway from 2013-14; Lone parent benefits: extend conditionality to those with children aged five and above from October 2011; Social sector: limit working age entitlements to reflect size of family from 2013-14; Switch to CPI indexation for local housing allowance from 2013-14; Contributory employment and support allowance: time limit for those in the work related activity group to one year; Total household benefit payments capped on the basis of average take-home pay for working households; Council tax benefit: 10% reduction in expenditure and localisation; Local housing allowance: transitional protection for existing claimants; Employment and support allowance youth: abolish national insurance concession; Benefit fraud: sanctions and debt recovery; Local housing allowance: baseline for uprating; Changes to the housing benefit social sector size criteria; Discretionary housing payments (i); Discretionary housing payments (ii); Benefit cap: unemployed grace period. Source: HM Treasury's latest published estimates, UK-based, rounded to the nearest £5 million.

Work Capability Assessment

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to establish the full costs of the decision making process for work capability assessments. [148981]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 660W

Mr Hoban: The full costs of the decision making process can be described as falling in to two broad categories which are as follows:

The end-to-end direct costs of delivering an employment and support allowance benefit decision, and the indirect costs more broadly associated with the work capability assessment (WCA) process.

The direct costs include:

Obtaining and inputting data from claimants for new claims and existing claimants following a change of circumstances;

Processing benefit claims and making referrals to the WCA provider;

Conducting the work capability assessment;

The Department paying for further medical evidence, so that a fully informed benefit entitlement decision can be made; and

The Department making a decision on benefit entitlement, following receipt of the medical assessment report from the provider.

The Department reconsidering decisions on appeal

The indirect costs include:

The cost to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS);

The cost to the NHS of doctors' time, where they are contacted by the claimant to support their case or where they are required to provide further medical evidence for appeals; and

The incremental costs to the NHS relating to the impacts of supporting individuals, who are not awarded ESA.

The direct costs of delivery are monitored and reported on by the Department, but the indirect costs are not. The Department intends to commission work on the feasibility of collaboration with other agencies to estimate the full cost of the WCA process by September 2013.

Justice

Pleural Plaques

19. Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent representations he has received on compensation for people with pleural plaques. [148594]

Mrs Grant: We have received a small number of recent representations on pleural plaques from Members of Parliament sent on behalf of their constituents.

Rehabilitation of Offenders

20. Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress he has made on introducing payment by results for the rehabilitation of offenders. [148595]

Jeremy Wright: We want to introduce payment by results to incentivise providers to reduce reoffending. It makes sense as a way of improving effectiveness and getting a good deal for the taxpayer.

The transforming rehabilitation consultation closed on 22 February 2013. We will respond to the consultation and bring forward detailed plans in due course.

Literacy Teaching: Prisons

21. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to teach prisoners to read and write. [148596]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 661W

Jeremy Wright: When literacy needs are identified prisoners are offered teaching and support as a matter of priority. This can take place in classrooms, through peer mentoring, in libraries, at work and during other prison activities.

A key purpose of the review of the incentives and earned privileges scheme is to ensure that any privileges earned in prison are gained through hard work and appropriate behaviour. This should better incentivise prisoners to address their offending behaviour by engaging with their sentence plan and, for those who need it, by engaging in education.

Retirement Age: Magistrates

22. Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to review the retirement age of magistrates. [148597]

Mrs Grant: There are currently no plans to undertake a review. The retirement age for magistrates is 70 and is set in statute under section 13 of the Courts Act 2003. This is in line with the retirement age for the vast majority of other judicial offices.

The contribution of magistrates of all ages is valued; however, there is no clear business need for change—there are already many more applicants than vacancies within the magistracy and over 80% of magistrates are over 50.

As well as taking magistrates out of step with other judicial offices, increasing the retirement age would reduce the number of available vacancies and thus reduce opportunities for younger people to become magistrates.

Courts: Closures

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he intends to announce the closure of any further courts in England and Wales; and what the name and location is of any such courts. [148078]

Mrs Grant: HM Courts and Tribunals Service continues to keep the use of its estate under review to ensure that it meets operational requirements.

Employment Tribunals Service

Gordon Birtwistle: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what estimate he has made of the number of tribunals brought against employers by employees for unpaid wages that were successful and resulted in an award to the employee in each year since 2007; [147806]

(2) how many employment tribunals have been brought against employers by employees for unpaid wages in each year since 2007. [147881]

Mrs Grant: Data on the number of monetary awards made in relation to complaints about unpaid wages are not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost by trawling hard copy tribunal files or judgments manually. While some data on monetary awards made by employment tribunals are collated centrally, these data only relate to claims for unfair

19 Mar 2013 : Column 662W

dismissal and certain types of discrimination. These data are published annually and available on the Ministry of Justice website.

Data on employment tribunal complaints presented in respect of unpaid wages are set out in the following table:

Unauthorised deduction receipts
 Complaints received

2007-08

34,600

2008-09

33,800

2009-10

75,500

2010-11

71,300

2011-12

51,200

Source: ET Annual Report

As a proxy for the number of awards made, it is possible to look at the number of claims determined by employment tribunals in favour of claimants. By way of background, employment tribunals have jurisdiction to hear complaints in respect of the failure of an employer to pay wages, or in respect of the unauthorised deductions from wages. All such complaints presented are categorised by employment tribunals under a specific reference code, and management information can be obtained in respect of that work.

The Ministry of Justice publishes, annually and quarterly, statistical data on workload trends in tribunals including employment tribunals. These data include the volume of complaints presented to, and disposed of by, employment tribunals, broken down by jurisdictional type. This includes reference to complaints for unauthorised deductions from wages. It also includes data on the type of disposal in respect of those complaint types—so it is possible to see the number of ‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’ complaints determined at a hearing for all ‘unauthorised deduction’ complaints, for example; or the number of complaints of a particular type that were conciliated or withdrawn.

Complaints can be presented as free-standing complaints by a claimant; or as one of two or more complaints making up a larger claim. Where two or more complaints make up a claim, the component complaints could have different outcomes—for example one could be ‘successful’ and the other ‘unsuccessful’. Because of this, it is difficult to present data on the outcome of global claims, as distinct from the outcome of the jurisdictional complaints that make up those claims, using the format employed by our published statistics.

Because the published data relate to workloads at complaints-level (rather than claims-level), and because several complaints can sit within a claim for which an award is made, the number of awards made will not necessarily correlate to the number of component complaints determined underneath that award. Accordingly, it is not possible, from published data, to understand the number of awards (monetary or otherwise) made.

Legal Aid Scheme

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much legal aid was paid out in the case of Mohammed Jamilur Rahman which began in May 2010; to which legal firms and barristers those payments were made; and if he will make a statement. [145303]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 663W

Jeremy Wright: The damages case brought by Mohammed Jamilur Rahman against the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), is still ongoing. To date payments totalling £19,015, in the form of payments on account, have been made. These costs include VAT and disbursements, and are subject to change pending conclusion of the case and final bills. The legal firm and barristers to which payments have so far been made are: Imran Khan and Partners, Joel Bennathan QC and Jude Bunting.

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was paid to (a) Dinah Rose QC, (b) Richard Hermer QC, (c) Stephanie Harrison, (d) Hugh Southey and (e) Amanda Weston in respect of fees for legal aid work in each year since 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. [145349]

Jeremy Wright: The total amount paid by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to each of the barristers in respect of legal aid work each year since 2008-09, is provided in the following table.

£
 2008-092009-102010-112011-12

Dinah Rose QC

35,317.76

14,353.12

90,004.03

38,709.38

Richard Hermer QC

94,439.20

32,109.18

33,466.45

79,305.30

Stephanie Harrison

254,074.14

174,704.8 1

156,075.20

117,184.23

Hugh Southey QC

444,469.44

319,387.7 2

297,601.82

209,158.23

Amanda Weston

78,382.52

51,133.86

41,470.03

115,109.15

These figures must be interpreted carefully and do not represent the personal earnings of the individuals listed in any one year. There are a number of reasons for this. First, all the figures shown are inclusive of VAT as paid, and disbursements incurred (e.g. travelling). Individuals must pay that VAT to HM Revenue and Customs.

Secondly, barristers pay a percentage of their fees towards professional overheads as well as facing the same expenses as any other self-employed person, including income tax and national insurance contributions.

Thirdly, the amounts paid to the individuals include payments for work carried outside the year in which they were paid, for cases that last longer than a year.

Finally, while these figures represent payments actually made to the individuals during the year, other parties may repay some of this money. For example, in civil cases, this will happen where the legally aided party wins the case and recovers the costs from the opponent. Once those costs are recovered, the legally aided party's solicitor refunds some or all of the money to the LSC. In some cases where costs are recovered from the losing party the actual cost to legal aid may be very little, or even nothing.

Offenders: Fines

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to collect information on the number of people sentenced to pay

19 Mar 2013 : Column 664W

fines who

(a)

have dependent children,

(b)

have outstanding debts,

(c)

are in receipt of jobseeker's allowance and

(d)

are in receipt of housing benefit since September 2012. [148436]

Mrs Grant: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is committed to improving its evidence base and is working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to improve data available for analysis on the benefit and employment status of offenders.

The aim is that through a new analytical data share between MOJ, DWP and HMRC, in future MOJ and DWP will hold information on the number of people who are sentenced to a fine who are in receipt of benefits, including jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit. The new data share will not include information on the number of people sentenced to fines who have outstanding debts, but will include partial information on the number who have dependent children. Information on offenders' benefit and employment status and history will be available from 2000 onwards and will be updated each year.

Once the new data share is in place, information from the new data share will be published at the earliest opportunity.

Prisoners

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of the offenders convicted in the UK were (a) UK nationals, (b) EEA nationals excluding the UK and (c) nationals from countries outside the EEA in the last 12 months. [147882]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database holds information on defendants proceeded against, found guilty and sentenced for criminal offences in England and Wales. This database holds information on offences provided by the statutes under which proceedings are brought but not the specific circumstances of each case. It is not possible to identify from this centrally held information the nationality of offenders sentenced for criminal offences.

Prisons: Crimes of Violence

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many incidents of prisoner-on-prisoner violence there have been in the (a) secure adult estate and (b) secure youth estate in each year since May 2005; what the nature was of each incident; how many prosecutions resulted; how many of those prosecuted were convicted; and what their sentences were; [148297]

(2) how many incidents of prisoner-on-prisioner violence there have been in the secure adult male prison estate in each of the prisoner security categories in each year since May 2005; [148300]

(3) how many incidents of prisoner-on-prisoner violence there have been in the secure adult female prison estate in each of the prisoner security categories in each year since May 2005. [148301]

Jeremy Wright: The information is as follows:

19 Mar 2013 : Column 665W

(1) The number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in HM Prisons and HM Young Offender Institutes between January 2005 and December 2011 are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults
 Number

2005

10,894

2006

11,530

2007

12,018

2008

12,834

2009

12,150

2010

11,252

2011

12,328

Providing the requested information for each of these incidents could be achieved only at disproportionate cost as this would involve manual interpretation of the details of each individual incident to provide a summary of the assault.

(2) and (3) The information requested is not available as the security category of the prisoner at the time of the incident is not held.

Prisons: Visits

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much inter-prison visits have cost since May 2010. [148382]

Jeremy Wright: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) Central Accounting System does not separately record the costs of inter-prison visits. Such data could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

NOMS policy for the provision of inter-prison visits by prisoners can be found in Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 16/2011 “Providing Visits and Services to Visitors”. The purpose of inter-prison visits is to enable close relatives, where both parties are prisoners at separate establishments, to maintain strong family ties. Inter-prison visits will be granted by the Governor only where security requirements are met. The decision to allow any visit must be balanced against the need to maintain security and keep prisoners in lawful custody. Visits must be well managed, monitored, and where necessary due to inappropriate behaviour, terminated to maintain the good order and discipline of the prison. A copy of PSI 16/2011 can be found at:

www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/psis

Probation

Meg Hillier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future of the probation service; and if he will make a statement. [148577]

Jeremy Wright: The transforming rehabilitation consultation closed on 22 February 2013. Our proposed reforms will help reduce reoffending by opening up provision of probation services to a wider range of providers and by extending rehabilitative provision to those serving less than 12 months in prison. We will respond to the consultation and bring forward detailed plans in due course.

Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future of the probation service; and if he will make a statement. [148578]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 666W

Jeremy Wright: The transforming rehabilitation consultation closed on 22 February 2013. Our proposed reforms will help reduce reoffending by opening up provision of probation services to a wider range of providers and by extending rehabilitative provision to those serving less than 12 months in prison. We will respond to the consultation and bring forward detailed plans in due course.

Probation Trusts

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of (a) the Northamptonshire Probation Trust and (b) other probation trusts in England and Wales. [148657]

Jeremy Wright: The performance of probation trusts is kept under constant review. The Ministry of Justice publishes annually the probation trust performance ratings and other measures of performance, including completion rates for orders and licences and for community payback requirements. These can be viewed at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/prisons-and-probation/prison-probation-performance-info

Small Claims: Essex

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what assessment he has made of the recent performance of HM Courts Service in relation to small claims in (a) Southend-on-Sea and (b) Essex; [148092]

(2) what the average waiting time was from allocation to hearing for small claims at Southend county court in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [148093]

(3) what the average payment was to successful claimants in small claims cases heard by county courts where the claimant (a) had and (b) did not have legal representation in each year since 2003; [148094]

(4) in (a) how many and (b) what proportion of small claims cases heard by county courts claimants had legal representation in each year since 2003; [148095]

(5) what the average time taken from allocation to hearing for small claims was in each county court in Essex in each of the last five years. [148096]

Mrs Grant: Southend and Essex county courts assess small claims performance in two key areas: the timeliness of cases that have a final court hearing; and the settlement rate. Table 1 as follows shows the average time in weeks for each court in Essex from allocation to hearing for small claims cases that went to hearing from January 2008 to September 2012. Between January and September 2012 Southend-on-Sea was 15 weeks, the same as the national figure. Data for the quarter to December 2012 will be published on 28 March 2013. We are constantly reviewing listing practices to improve timeliness in this area. In the 12 months to September 2012 Southend had a settlement rate for small claims of 87%, Essex overall, 77%, and England and Wales 76%.

HMCTS is still investigating whether we can answer questions 148094 and 148095 but are unable to produce the necessary data in the time available and will provide an answer to these questions at a later date. I will write to my hon. Friend with the information as soon as my officials can provide it.

19 Mar 2013 : Column 667W

19 Mar 2013 : Column 668W

Table 1: Average time between allocation and hearing (weeks) for small claims(1), in each county court in Essex, 2008 to September 2012
Court name20082009201020112012 January-September(3)

Basildon Combined Court

13

14

12

11

12

Chelmsford County and Family Proceedings Court

12

16

13

13

14

Colchester County Court

12

13

13

15

15

Harlow County Court(2)

15

15

17

17

Southend County Court

15

15

13

13

15

(1) Figures relate to cases whose trials or small claims hearings took place during the relevant year. For many cases the original date of issue and allocation date will have been in an earlier period. (2) Harlow County Court closed on 1 April 2011. (3) Provisional. Note: Data for October to December 2012 will be available from the end of March 2013. Source: HM Courts and Tribunals Service CaseMan system.

Small Claims: Greater London

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people in (a) Dagenham and (b) Romford constituency have taken cases to the small claims court in the latest period for which figures are available; [148318]

(2) how many people in Havering have taken cases to the small claims court in the last 12 months. [148419]

Mrs Grant: Information on the number of cases taken to the small claims courts broken down by constituency or local authority is not held centrally by the Ministry of Justice.

Tobacco: Smuggling

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the adequacy of guidelines on sentencing for offences relating to the smuggling and supply of illegal and counterfeit tobacco products. [147354]

Jeremy Wright: The Government are satisfied that the maximum penalties available for the relevant offences give the courts sufficient powers to deal with the cases which come before them. Tough maximum penalties are available for these offences—either 10 years imprisonment for fraud or seven years for duty evasion. Sentencing guidelines are a matter for the independent Sentencing Council.

Travellers: Sussex

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many successful prosecutions have been brought by Sussex police against people involved in illegal encampment in each of the last five years. [148511]

Jeremy Wright: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for the offences of being a trespasser and failing to leave land when directed or returning to land within three months of being directed to leave, in the Sussex police force area, for the years 2007 to 2011, can be viewed in the table.

Court proceedings data for 2012 are planned for publication in May 2013.

Persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for the offences of being a trespasser and failing to leave land when directed or returning to land within three months of being directed to leave(1), in the Sussex police force area, 2007-11(2,3)
 Proceeded againstFound guilty

2007

0

0

2008

0

0

2009

0

0

2010

0

0

2011

2

2

(1) Offences under section 61(4)(a) and 61(4)(b) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. (2) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence 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. (3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Wales

Domestic Visits

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many times he has visited each parliamentary constituency in Wales since taking up his post. [148821]

Stephen Crabb: Since our appointments the Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr Jones), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my noble Friend Baroness Randerson, and I have, between us, visited the following parliamentary constituencies in Wales:

ConstituencyVisits

Aberconwy

2

Alyn and Deeside

4

Arfon

1

Cardiff Central

46

Cardiff South and Penarth

3

Cardiff West

1

19 Mar 2013 : Column 669W

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

3

Clwyd South

I

Clwyd West

3

Islwyn

1

Monmouth

1

Newport East

4

Newport West

2

Preseli Pembrokeshire

1

Rhondda

1

Swansea West

2

Vale of Glamorgan

3

Ynys Môn

3

19 Mar 2013 : Column 670W

Public Expenditure

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment his Department has made of the effect of Government spending reductions on women in Wales. [148820]

Stephen Crabb: In non-devolved policy areas UK Government Departments publish impact assessments and equality impact assessments which are available on their websites. Decisions on the allocation of the Welsh Block Budget is of course a matter for the Welsh Government who publish their own impact and equality impact assessments.