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Iraq: Baha Mousa

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In a Written Statement on 14 May (Official Report, Commons, col. 60WS), I announced that there would be a public inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa, who died in Iraq in September 2003 while being detained by British soldiers.

The inquiry will be held under the Inquiries Act 2005 and it will be chaired by the right honourable Lord Justice Gage, who is about to retire from the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice Gage is a very experienced judge and I am grateful to him for taking on this important task. He has decided to chair the inquiry alone—that is, without other panel members. He may, however, decide to appoint assessors who can assist him with expert knowledge and advice.

The inquiry’s terms of reference are:

To investigate and report on the circumstances surrounding the death of Baha Mousa and the treatment of those detained with him, taking account of the investigations that have already taken place, in particular where responsibility lay for approving the practice of conditioning detainees by any members of the 1st Battalion The Queen's Lancashire Regiment in Iraq in 2003, and to make recommendations.

In my Statement on 14 May, I described the death of Mr Mousa as a disturbing incident; this was not just because a man died in the custody of British soldiers, but because an investigation by the Royal Military Police and subsequent court martial highlighted further important questions that needed to be answered. I am confident that the terms of reference that I have set out not only will enable the inquiry to conduct a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the death, but are sufficiently focused to ensure that its conclusions can be reached in a timely manner.

The inquiry will, of course, have the full support of the Ministry of Defence. Much work is in hand to ensure that the inquiry has the material that it needs and that those who will be required to assist the inquiry are given legal advice.

Learning and Skills Council: Annual Report and Accounts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Today my honourable friend the Minister of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Bill Rammell) has made the following Written Statement.

I inform the House that the Learning and Skills Council for England has today published its annual report and accounts for the period to 31 March 2008. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Local Government: Housing and Planning Delivery Grant

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning (Caroline Flint) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Following the Government’s announcement of provisional allocations for housing and planning delivery grant for 2008-09, a number of local authorities expressed concern that their grant had been abated for poor performance on development control. Unfortunately, a figure of 80 per cent was used for all development control targets on which grant is abated, rather than of 60 per cent, 65 per cent and 80 per cent for major, minor and other applications.

The abatement figures have now been corrected. The changes affect all local authority provisional allocations, as there is less abated grant to be redistributed to unabated authorities.

A revised schedule of local authority provisional allocations has been placed in the Library of the House.

Ministry of Defence: Annual Report and Accounts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce that I am today publishing the Ministry of Defence’s annual report and accounts 2007-08. They combine the department’s annual performance report and departmental resource accounts in a single document that provides a comprehensive overview of the MoD’s financial and non-financial performance for the year, a final assessment of performance against the 2004 spending review public service agreement targets and a provisional assessment of final performance against the 2004 spending review efficiency target. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. They are also available online from the department’s website at www.mod.uk/Defencelnternet/DefenceFor/Researchers/.

This has been a challenging year for defence. The operational tempo remained high with the continuing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In those theatres and others, British forces are making a huge contribution to international security. We have made real progress in developing our relationship with industry, promoting innovation and improving the whole procurement process. Our Armed Forces are now better equipped than ever before. The report also details the considerable progress that the Ministry of Defence has simultaneously made in delivering the capabilities and reformed force structure set out in the July 2004 Command Paper Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities, other elements of the defence change programme, the defence acquisition change programme, the capability review and the Government’s wider sustainability goals.



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The success of defence is dependent on the men and women of the Armed Forces and the civilians who support them. They continue to do an exceptional job. The Government remain committed to providing the support that they need and deserve.

Ministry of Defence: Annual Report on Military Low Flying

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Derek Twigg) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today placed in the Library of the House a report giving a detailed account of the low-flying training that has taken place in the UK low-flying system for the training year April 2007 to March 2008.

Additional copies of The Pattern of Military Low Flying Across the UK 2007-2008 are available on request from the following address: Directorate of Air Staff Complaints & Enquiries Unit, Ministry of Defence, Level 5 Zone H, Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB.

Alternatively, it can be viewed on the MoD's website: www.mod.uk/issues/lowflying.

National DNA Database: Ethics Group Annual Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Identity (Meg Hillier) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement made on 25 July 2007 announcing the establishment of an Ethics Group to provide Ministers with independent ethical advice on the operation and practice of the National DNA Database (NDNAD), I am pleased to announce the publication today of its first annual report.

The report makes a number of recommendations around the processes involved in the taking, use and retention of DNA samples, in particular those taken from volunteers. I have asked the National Policing Improvement Agency and the National DNA Strategy Board to let me have their considered comments on the report’s recommendations as soon as possible.

The Ethics Group report can be viewed on the website of the independent Forensic Science Regulator and I am arranging for a copy of the report to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

National Offender Management Service: Annual Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My right honourable friend the Minister of State (David Hanson) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.



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The annual report of Her Majesty’s Prison Service for 2007-08 (HC No 860) has today been laid before Parliament. The National Probation Service annual report has also been published today. Copies have been made available in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.



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The Prison Service report includes the financial accounts for 2007-08. The financial accounts for the 42 probation boards were produced at the end of June 2008.

The performance of the National Offender Management Service against its targets for 2007-08 is shown in the table.



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National Offender Management Service: Performance against Targets 2007-08
Performance IndicatorAnnual PerformanceAnnual Target

Public Protection

No escapes of Category A prisoners

0

0

Rate of escapes from prison and prison escorts to be lower than 0.05% of the average prison population

0.008%

0.05%

Fewer than 1 in 20,000 escapes from prison and Prison Service escorts

1:75,345

1:20,000

At least 90% of OASys assessments (assessment, screening and full risk of harm analysis and sentence plan) must be completed or updated within five days following sentence or release on licence for all Tier 4 risk of harm cases (excluding PPOs)

96.5%

90%

Reducing Reoffending

At least 90% of OASys assessments must be completed or updated within appropriate timescales (five days following sentence or release on licence for all PPO cases)

96.4%

90%

Offender Management

At least 90% of OASys assessments (assessment, screening and, if appropriate, full risk of harm analysis and sentence plan) must be completed or updated within 15 days following sentence or release on licence for all Tier 1, 2 & 3 cases (excluding PPOs)

68.9%

90%

Safety, Decency and Respect

Rate of self-inflicted deaths (SIDs) in prison not to exceed 112.8 per 100,000 prison population.

106.7 per 100,000

112.8 per 100,000

1.81% of serious assaults per overall prison population

1.73%

1.81%

The % of prisoners held in accommodation units intended for fewer prisoners does not exceed 24% of the average population in public prisons

25.1%

24%

The % of prisoners held in accommodation units intended for fewer prisoners does not exceed 34.5% of the average population in private prisons

34.9%

34.5%

Delivery of Justice

Achieve an average of 35 working days from the relevant unacceptable failure to comply to resolution of the case; and to resolve 60% of breaches of community penalties within 25 working days of the relevant unacceptable failure to comply (CJS measure).

43

35

54%

60%

70% of orders and licences successfully completed

68%

70%

46,300 completions of unpaid work requirements

55,771

46,300

The rate of drug misuse in prison is less than 10%—as measured by the random Mandatory Drug Testing (rMDT) programme (reported one month in arrears)**

9.1%

<10%

Rehabilitation and Support

Accredited programmes completed for all prisons and probation (exclusive of SOTPs and DVs)*

21,998

20,595

Prisons

7,467

6,655

Probation

14,531

13,940

Sex offender treatment programmes completed for all prisons and probation

2,477

4,405

Prison

1,117

1,105

Probation

1,360

1,300

Probation domestic violence programmes completed

2,560

2,079

At least 75% of offenders move to settled accommodation on release

85%

75%

26% of discharged prisoners entering employment on release

27.8%

26%

To ensure that 7,185 prisoners complete a drug rehabilitation programme or therapeutic community annually

8,096

7,185

13,200 offenders under supervision achieve and sustain employment for four weeks

16,823

13,200

75% of offenders are retained in DRR/DTTO for 12 weeks

84.7%

75%

Reassurance and Confidence

85% of victims to be contacted within eight weeks of an offender receiving 12 months or more for a serious sexual or violent offence

95%

85%

Supporting the courts

90% of pre-sentence reports (PSRs) are completed to agreed timescales

95%

90%

At least 85% of prisoners from prison or police cells are delivered to court before the agreed time

85%

85%

Resource Use Strategy

Days lost due to sickness (prison system) not to exceed 11 days per annum

11.7

11.0

Days lost due to sickness (probation) not to exceed nine days per annum

12.1

9.00

At least 6.3% of the workforce in public prisons to be from ethnic minority groups (prison system)

6.2%

6.3%

95% of race and ethnic monitoring data on staff and offenders returned on time using correct classification (probation)

98%

95%

NOMS National Targets for Prisons 2007-08—Breakdown of Public and Contracted Prison Performance
Performance IndicatorPublicContractedAnnual Performance

Public Protection

No escapes of Category A prisoners

0

0

0

Rate of escapes from prison and prison escorts to be lower than 0.05% of the average prison population

0.007%

0.01%

0.008%

Fewer than one in 20,000 escapes from contracted escorts

1:75,345

Safety, Decency and Respect

Rate of self-inflicted deaths (SIDs) in prison not to exceed 112.8 per 100,000 prison population

116.9

11.8

106.7

1.8% of serious assaults per overall prison population

The % of prisoners held in accommodation units intended for fewer prisoners does not exceed 34.5% of the average population in private prisons and 24% in public prisons

25%

34.9%

Delivery of Justice

The rate of drug misuse in prison is less than 10%—as measured by the random Mandatory Drug Testing (rMDT) programme (reported one month in arrears)

8.9%

10.0%

9.1%

At least 85% of prisoners from prison or police cells are delivered to court by the agreed time

85%

86%

85%

Rehabilitation and Support

[6,655] accredited offending behaviour programmes completed by prisoners

6,885

582

7,467

[1,105] accredited sex offender treatment programmes completed by prisoners

1,037

80

1,117

At least 75% of offenders move to settled accommodation on release

85%

81.8%

85.0%

26% of discharged prisoners entering employment on release

27.3%

25.9%

27.8%

To ensure that [7,185] prisoners complete a drug rehabilitation programme or therapeutic community annually

7,398

698

8,096

Resource Use Strategy

Days lost due to sickness (HMPS) not to exceed 11 days per annum

12

n/a

12

At least 6.3% of the workforce in public prisons to be from ethnic minority groups

6.2%

n/a

6.2%


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