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4 Feb 2009 : Column WA124

Lord Bach: Recent international systematic reviews analysing large numbers of evaluations of drug treatment programmes have concluded that, on average, drug treatment programmes reduce reoffending1. Drug interventions shown to be effective included: methadone treatment, heroin treatment, therapeutic communities, psycho-social approaches and drug courts. The most effective interventions to reduce drug-related crime seemed to be therapeutic communities, psycho-social approaches and drug courts.

The evaluations to date of drug treatment programmes in prisons in the UK are limited but suggest that these programmes can reduce reoffending2. For example, prisoners who completed the 12-step RAN programme had statistically significantly lower rates of reconviction after two years than a comparison group (40 per cent versus 50 per cent)—although there may be selection bias3 here; for example, motivation to participate.

The best available measure of drug prevalence in prisons is the random mandatory drug testing (rMDT) programme, which routinely tests prisoners chosen at random for a panel of drugs. The rMDT positives level shows drug use in custody declining since 1996-97, down from 24.4 per cent to 9.1 per cent in 2007-084. For a number of reasons, MDT results cannot be a complete measure of the prevalence of drugs misuse in prisons. However, MDT results do provide a reliable and statistically valid way of measuring patterns and trends of drug-misuse5.

Crime: Northern Ireland


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): No. SOCA has a UK-wide remit and engages closely with operational

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partners in Northern Ireland through the UK Serious Organised Crime Control Strategy and the Organised Crime Taskforce (OCTF).

Pages 18 to 19 of the 2008-09 annual plan make specific reference to the exercise of functions in Northern Ireland.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord West of Spithead: Civil recovery proceedings are discontinued by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, in accordance with legislation and operational policy, only in cases where it is no longer possible or appropriate to continue civil recovery action. The published transcript of SOCA's evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee does not make reference to SOCA having terminated civil proceedings in Northern Ireland.

Crime: Offender Behaviour Programmes


Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Reoffending is measured as a rate1, rather than in terms of numbers of offences or offenders.

There is considerable evidence, originating mainly from North America, to support the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural programmes in reducing reoffending (McGuire, 2002; Pearson et al, 2002; Lipton et al, 1998, Wilson et al, 2005).

There are positive indications that offender behaviour programmes may be effective in reducing reoffending for offenders in the community. For example, Offender Management and Sentencing Analytical Services (OMSAS) conducted an analysis on accredited programmes in the community (Hollis, 2007). It compared actual reoffending rates in 2006 with rates predicted on the basis of 2004 data. The reoffending rate for all offenders who had undertaken interventions was 55 per cent, based on a two-year reconviction rate. Programme completers did statistically significantly better than those who did not start or who dropped out of programmes. The rates were 38 per cent, 61 per cent and 64 per cent respectively. This analysis of management information, however, cannot determine whether these differences result from programme impact.

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Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen

Lord Bach: Reoffending is measured as a rate1, rather than in terms of numbers of offences or offenders.

There is considerable international evidence (Wilson et al, 2005; Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2006), to support the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural programmes in reducing reoffending. However, UK research examining the effectiveness of programmes in prisons has produced mixed results (Friendship et al, 2002; Falshaw et al, 2003; Cann et al, 2003).

A recent prison-based study showed that the one-year reconviction rate for both adult men and young offenders who had completed enhanced thinking skills (ETS) and reasoning and rehabilitation (R&R) interventions in prison represented a positive 2.5 percentage points difference in reconviction for adult male completers (17.0 per cent vs. 19.5 per cent) and a 4.1 percentage point difference for young offender completers (31.4 per cent vs. 35.5 per cent) compared to matched comparison groups. There was no difference in reconviction rates between programme starters and comparison groups. See tables 3 and 4 at

A study of female participants of ETS and R&R (Cann, 2006) found no statistically significant differences in one- and two-year rates between offenders and a matched comparison group. See

The most robust evaluation of the sex offender treatment programme (SOTP) in England and Wales (Friendship et al, 2003) examined the impact of the prison-based programme. This compared two-year reconviction rates for prisoners who participated in the programme with those who did not. Findings indicated that the SOTP had an impact on reconvictions for sexual and/or violent offences (as a combined measure).



Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

4 Feb 2009 : Column WA127

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): On the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) assessment of available evidence, in compliance with its statutory functions, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 20 January 2009 (WA 197). The HFEA informs me that with regard to Professor Alan Trounson, it has not considered the report of the Australian Senate. The views of Professor Trounson were sought by the HFEA because he is widely considered to be an expert in the field of embryonic stem cells.

HFEA members, including co-opted members of HFEA committees, are routinely asked to declare any interests regarding agenda items at the beginning of every committee meeting. The advice and views of all committee members are equally taken into account before the authority makes decisions. This is reflected in the minutes of committee meetings.



Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

4 Feb 2009 : Column WA128

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Environment Agency's national flood and coastal database holds records of extreme flooding from rivers and sea since 2000 but also has information which dates further back.

For each location recorded on the database, historic flood information and the source of the flood are available. The database does not hold information on groundwater and surface water flooding.

Health: Continuing Care


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department published The National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS funded Nursing Care in June 2007. This document details the new criteria to be used by primary care trusts in assessing eligibility for continuing care. A copy has been placed in the Library.

If the National Health Service is providing any part of a patient's care, a case review should be undertaken to reassess care needs and eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare no later than three months following the initial assessment, and then as a minimum standard on an annual basis. There is also the right to request a review if an individual, or their representative, considers that the wrong decision has been made.

Health: Epilepsy


Asked by Earl Howe

4 Feb 2009 : Column WA129

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The National Service Framework for Long-Term Conditions is the key tool for delivering the Government's strategy to support and to reduce health inequalities among people who live with long-term neurological conditions, including epilepsy.

It is the responsibility of local health commissioners to ensure that they commission local services to meet the needs of their population. This includes ensuring that all relevant guidelines, including those issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), can be implemented where deemed appropriate.

NICE guidelines have the status of clinical guidelines for health professionals. It is the responsibility of health professionals to use their clinical judgment, in consultation with individual patients, to decide on the most appropriate treatment options, taking into account all relevant guidelines.

Health: Mixed-sex Wards


Asked by Lord Hanningfield

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Information about the number of mixed-sex wards is not collected centrally. Our guidance to the National Health Service has always required single-sex accommodation rather than single-sex wards. Even within a mixed ward, good single-sex accommodation can be achieved by using single rooms or single-sex bays and toilet facilities.

The Healthcare Commission’s annual national in-patient survey* does, however, provide trust-specific data about patients reporting on aspects of mixed-sex accommodation.

The department continues to engage strategic health authorities about their plans to deliver a reduction in mixed-sex accommodation and the East of England Strategic Health Authority is able to provide more detail about its plans to deliver improvements in both Essex and other counties in the eastern region.

On 28 January 2009 the department announced a six month programme to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation. This includes a £100 million privacy

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and dignity fund to support local improvements and tough financial penalties from 2010-11 for those trusts that do not deliver.

Health: Research


Asked by Lord Jenkin of Roding

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council are together taking forward the improvements in translational research prompted by Sir David Cooksey's review of United Kingdom health research funding. Accountability to Parliament for this work rests, therefore, with the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Long Service Medals


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The 22-year qualification criteria for the police long-service and good conduct medal was decided after lengthy consultation with police partners and was introduced prior to the other UK civilian emergency service medals.

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