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13 Nov 2008 : Column WA143



13 Nov 2008 : Column WA143

Written Answers

Thursday 13 November 2008

Electoral Register

Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government are at present considering how to respond to the recommendation that the edited version of the electoral register should not be available for sale, along with all of the other recommendations set out in the report.

Northern Ireland: Bonuses

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Patel of Bradford: Further to my Written Answer of 14 October (WA45), Civil Service reward, including bonus arrangements for civil servants outside the senior Civil Service (SCS), is a matter for individual departments and agencies to negotiate with their own local trade unions. Information on the detail of these negotiations between individual departments and the local trade unions is not collated centrally—to do so would incur disproportionate cost. Under the centrally managed arrangements for the SCS, the independent Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) makes recommendations to the Government on reward policy for the SCS each year. The First Division Association, which represents senior civil servants, submits its own evidence to the SSRB, but does not have negotiating rights.

Post-legislative Scrutiny

Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Patel of Bradford: The Government have no immediate plans to provide time for a debate on the White Paper. The first round of post-legislative scrutiny under the system set out in the White Paper is only just beginning. We will consider further the need for a debate, in the light of how the system develops.



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Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Patel of Bradford: The system of post-legislative scrutiny set out in the White Paper is initiated by the submission of a memorandum on the Act by the relevant government department to the departmental Select Committee, generally between three and five years after the Act receives Royal Assent.

This process will begin with Acts that received Royal Assent in 2005. Several departments are currently preparing memoranda for submission to Select Committees in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Officials involved in producing legislation are routinely reminded of the need to identify clear and developed policy objectives when a Bill is presented to Parliament, to serve as a benchmark for future post-legislative scrutiny.

Prisons: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): There are a number of factors which will cause differences in prisoner costs, such as the category, size, age, and location of the prisons, the mix of prisoners and the internal regime and rehabilitation work followed. For example, in England and Wales the average cost per prisoner in a male dispersal prison (category A) is more than double the cost in a male open prison.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service is substantially smaller than that in England and Wales and the scope for benefiting from economies of scale is considerably less. Staffing levels are higher due to complexity and inefficient building designs. In addition, salaries are historically higher in Northern Ireland due to the management of terrorist prisoners. Steps are being taken to align salaries to those paid elsewhere.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The apparently large difference in the ratio of officers to prisoners is mainly due to the

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different classification of prison officers between the two jurisdictions. In Northern Ireland, a wider group of staff are classified as officers than in England.

If operational support grades are included along with officer grades to calculate the ratio for England the ratio falls to 2.2:1. The continuing differential is because the Northern Ireland Prison Service has not been able to benefit from economies of scale.



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Questions for Written Answer: Unanswered Question

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Patel of Bradford: A reply was sent to the noble Lord on Thursday 6 November 2008.


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