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Research

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General how many people were working in a research capacity in the office of the (a) CPS, (b) Attorney-General and (c) Solicitor-General in each year since the inception of the CPS, as a percentage of (i) staff turnover and (ii) the number of people employed. [37777]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 27 February 2002]: The Policy Directorate in CPS Headquarters, based in London and York, presently employs around 60 staff, of which 30 are qualified lawyers. This constitutes 0.05 per cent. of the number of people presently employed by the CPS. Unfortunately, figures to show the number of Policy Directorate staff in each year since the inception of the CPS cannot be disaggregated from recorded data either as a percentage of staff turnover or the number of staff employed.

The Directorate has responsibility for development of prosecution policy, setting standards and giving guidance to CPS staff on the criminal law generally. It also contributes to the development of criminal law by liaising with other agencies on new legislative proposals and initiatives. This often involves research based work for both the legally qualified staff and for a smaller number of administrative staff.

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The office of the Attorney-General and Solicitor- General also does not employ persons in a specific research capacity, but is staffed predominantly by lawyers whose role is to brief the Law Officers on a wide range of issues.

Accountancy Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General what the total cost to her Department was for accountancy services in each of the last four years. [34174]

The Solicitor-General: The total cost to my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, of accountancy services in each of the last four year has been nil. In relation to the other Departments for which the Attorney-General is responsible, the details are as follows:

Crown Prosecution Service

The total cost to the Crown Prosecution Service of accountancy services, in each of the last four years has been as follows:


"Accountancy services" is taken to denote services provided by an external firm of accountants or their management consultancy arms if the assignment if connected with financial matters.

The CPS also uses accountants as expert witnesses in criminal prosecutions. Expenditure over the last four years in this respect has been as follows:


The Treasury Solicitor's Department has an in-house Finance Team which has responsibility for the expenditure, billing activity and accounting for the Treasury Solicitor's Department Agency, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, residual matters from the closure in September 1999 of the Government Property Lawyer's Agency and, since 1 April 2001, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. The team has required additional accounting resources during the last few years to deal with the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting; the associated replacement of the accounting computer system; and a substantial increase in the business of the Treasury Solicitor's Department Agency.

The total costs of the Treasury Solicitor's Department's Finance Team for the last four years are as follows:


These figures include direct staff, agency temporary staff and independent consultants' costs, a new computer system and other direct costs incurred by the Treasury Solicitor's Department Agency.

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Serious Fraud Office

The Serious Fraud Office has only incurred accounting costs over the last four years by the use of specific accountancy expertise to support case investigation. There have been no administrative accountancy services other than external/internal audit by the National Audit Office and Inland Revenue respectively.

The total costs incurred for accountancy work to support cases have been as follows:


Entertainment Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list for 1997–98 and for each subsequent financial year, including the current year to date, the amount spent by (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non- departmental public bodies on (i) food and (ii) alcohol, indicating how much was spent on guests, and how much in respect of (A) Ministers and (B) staff, broken down to show how much was provided directly by her Department and how much reclaimed. [34460]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 11 February 2002]: My own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, spent the following sums in providing hospitality and meeting refreshments in 1997–98 and subsequent financial years:













Due to the accounting system used by the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, the cost information provided could not be divided to show the amount spent on food and alcohol, and the amounts spent on guests, Ministers and staff without incurring disproportionate cost. For the same reason information cannot be provided regarding how much of the money spent by the Department was provided directly by the Department and how much was reclaimed.

Crown Prosecution Service

In 1997–98 and subsequent financial years the Crown Prosecution Service spent the following sums in providing hospitality:


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It would not be possible, without incurring disproportionate costs, to identify how much money was spent on food and drink, how much on guests, Ministers and staff, how much money was provided directly by the Department and how much was reclaimed.

The Department's policy on the provision of hospitality requires that the number of staff at any event must not exceed the number of guests. The thrust of the policy is that CPS representation must be kept to an absolute minimum.

Expenditure on hospitality is restricted to a maximum of £25 per head for lunch and £35 per head for dinner. These sums are to cover all food and drink.

The increase in expenditure in the last two years is a consequence of the CPS policy to raise its profile in the community and in the media. Recent initiatives such as Direct Communication to Victims and the Equality and Diversity Action Plan on Race have been publicly launched to the press and invited members of the public and relevant organisations.

Treasury Solicitor's Department

In 1997–98 and subsequent financial years the Treasury Solicitor's Department spent the following sums in providing hospitality:


The contract management and financial analysis systems currently in place within the Treasury Solicitor's Department mean that it is not possible to distinguish between money spent on food and alcohol and between guests and others, without incurring disproportionate cost. These systems are being upgraded as part of improvements which commenced some months ago. Most of the improvements should be in place during the course of the financial year 2002–03.

In relation to agencies and non-departmental public bodies, the Government Property Lawyers spent the following sums in providing hospitality in 1997–98 and subsequent financial years:


The Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate has not incurred any hospitality costs since they became part of the Treasury Solicitor's Department.

Serious Fraud Office

In 1997–98 and subsequent financial years the Serious Fraud Office spent the following sums in providing hospitality and meeting refreshments:







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This information could not be divided to show the amount spent on food and alcohol, and the amounts spent on guests, Ministers and staff without incurring disproportionate cost. For the same reason information cannot be provided regarding how much of the money spent was provided directly by the Department and how much was reclaimed.

The Serious Fraud Office has neither agencies nor non-departmental bodies.


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