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National Insurance Costs

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her estimate is of the cost in the next 12 months of the budget changes to employers' national insurance contributions to (a) her Department, (b) agencies of her Department and (c) charities in the overseas development sector. [52080]

Clare Short: I do not foresee any significant costs arising in the next 12 months—the Budget changes to employers' national insurance contributions take effect in April 2003.


Race Equality Scheme

Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish the Home Office Race Equality Scheme. [53194]

Angela Eagle: I am pleased to inform my hon. Friend that the Home Office has today published its Race Equality Scheme, setting out how the Home Office intends to promote race equality in accordance with its responsibilities under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. The Scheme is made up of an overarching scheme which describes the high level principles which apply across the Home Office, together with associate schemes for the core (non-IND) Home Office; the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND); the National Probation Directorate; the Forensic Science Service; the Passport and Records Agency and the Prison Service.

Copies of the complete Home Office Scheme are available in the Library and on the Home Office website,

Probation Service

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of whether the PSA target to increase the efficiency of the Probation Service will be met by March. [47222]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Overall, the budgets of assumed probation boards, in line with the public service agreement, that efficiency savings to the value of three per cent. would be achieved. The total amount distributed to boards was based on the national forecast of workload. Providing actual workload is in line with this forecast, the target will be achieved.

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In addition, the 42 local probation boards have been asked to report to the National Probation Directorate on the achievement of their efficiency savings. This information is currently being collated. The boards will also be required to report on the achievement of their efficiency savings for 2001–02 in their annual reports. A summary will also be included in the annual report and accounts of the National Probation Service.

Work has now been commissioned on developing the new comprehensive model for measuring efficiency savings taking into account the considerable changes that are being made to the arrangements for dealing with offenders, such as the introduction of accredited programmes. The provisional completion date for this work is June 2002.

Wrongly Convicted Prisoners

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date he established a working group on the aftercare of wrongly convicted prisoners; what its terms of reference are; what appointments have been made to the working group; what its target date is to report; and by what means interested parties may make submissions. [48627]

Beverley Hughes: The working group was established and first met in July 2000. The group is made up of Home Office officials and representatives of the National Association for the Care and Re-settlement of Offenders (NACRO) and the Society of Voluntary Associates (SOVA), two national voluntary sector organisations with considerable interest and experience in criminal justice and resettlement issues. The group's terms of reference are to consider and report to Ministers on what assistance might be given on release to ex-prisoners who successfully appeal against conviction and how that assistance might best be delivered within the available budget. No target date was set for the report but the working group is due to report to Ministers shortly. The group commissioned an independent scoping study to inform its work, which identified and canvassed views from a number of interested parties. After consideration of the scoping study the working group decided that a pilot project was appropriate. As there is no procurement exercise or competition for service delivery during the pilot phase, expressions of interest have not been invited. However, it has always been open to those who wish to contribute views to send them direct to the Home Office.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the total savings to public funds of the Private Finance Initiative contract for Hassockfield (Medomsley) Secure Training Centre by comparison with a non-Private Finance Initiative alternative. [49649]

Beverley Hughes: The estimated total savings to public funds of the Private Finance Initiative contract for Hassockfield (Medomsley) Secure Training Centre by comparison with a public sector alternative is £29.5 million (excluding VAT).

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Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners have been diagnosed as having a learning difficulty (a) while in prison and (b) prior to sentencing in the last 12 months; [49973]

Beverley Hughes: Prisons will form part of a pilot being developed by the Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit, which will introduce a greater diagnostic element in the assessment of a prisoner's learning difficulties and disabilities. We know that many offenders have learning difficulties and/or disabilities and we are working with prisons, including young offender institutions, to develop a national policy to support their needs. A working party has been set up to develop an action plan and representatives of the National Autistic Society, the British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Institute have been invited to join the working party. No reliable information is available on the total number of prisoners diagnosed with learning difficulties but new procedures are being developed to capture this kind of information.

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent research he has commissioned into the work of prison visitors and voluntary associates. [49985]

Beverley Hughes: A survey into the nature and extent of the involvement of voluntary sector organisations and volunteers in prison, including prison visitors, was conducted in September 2000. The report will be published shortly.

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many assaults by prisoners on (a) staff, (b) prisoners and (c) other people took place in prisons and resulted in a positive disciplinary adjudication in (i) 1996–97, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) the period since 1 April 2001; how many prisoners and what percentage of the average prison population during each relevant period this represented; and if he will make a statement. [48801]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 15 April 2002]: The number and rate of positive assaults adjudications for the years in question are given in the table.

Assaults on prisoners2,7473,2823,552
Rate of assaults on prisoners (percentage)
Assaults on staff/others2,5313,1073,159
Rate of assaults on staff/others (percentage)

(13) Annualised

Figures for 2001–02 are annualised based on positive adjudications to the end of February 2002 and are provisional. The Prison Service does not collect data separately to distinguish between the number of assaults on staff and others, nor the number of individual prisoners charged.

The number of proven adjudications of assault expressed as a proportion of the average prisoner population is a key performance indicator (KPI) for the

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Prison Service.While the number of assault adjudications has risen recently, all prisons now have an active anti-bullying strategy and there is some evidence that this leads, at least in the short term, to an increase in reported incidents.

Detention and Training Orders

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many young people serving detention and training orders of eight months or more have been released early, broken down by institution in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [49977]

Beverley Hughes: The most recent data show that on 31 March 2002 there were 113 detention and training orders being served in secure training centres, 151 in local authority secure units and 2,047 in Prison Service establishments. There are no data held centrally on the number of people being released early from detention and training orders.

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