Examination of Witnesses (Questions 380
WEDNESDAY 10 APRIL 2002
380. I am sorry but you have actually given
me two different answers. I would like you to be clear which one
you want to stick by. You said "I am happy that for planning
purposes I have got enough to do the job". Then you said
"I am happy that the staff we are providing in our planning
will give us enough to do our 15 cases a year". That is not
the same thing as doing the job, is it?
(Mr Stadlen) We are not suggesting that the Agency
will have sufficient resources to handle all of the potential
targets for civil recovery in the first year, that is certainly
the case, we would not claim that.
381. What about the second year?
(Mr Stadlen) The aim has been to resource it in such
a way that it will be able to use its powers to make an impact.
It is a matter of judgment as to how big a caseload is required
in order to achieve that.
382. Are you aware of what an enormous profit
centre to the Irish Government the CAB is?
(Mr Stadlen) We are aware that they have been successful.
383. Far beyond their costs. Is that not an
incentive for you therefore? You would not be able to keep the
profits, would you? They would go into general taxation.
(Mr Stadlen) So far as that is concerned the policy
is that up to half the amounts recovered are to be recycled into
the Recovered Assets Fund.
384. Into the Agency?
(Mr Stadlen) No, into the Recovered Assets Fund. The
Government has established a fund called the Recovered Assets
(Mr Stadlen) This was set up last autumn. It has replaced
an earlier narrower fund called the Confiscated Assets Fund. What
that fund does is to recycle up to 50 per cent of receipts from
confiscation and civil recovery and cash forfeiture into various
purposes which are the defined objectives of the scheme. This
is an administrative arrangement. The receipts, of course, go
into the consolidated fund but there is a policy that up to half
of the money, the amount to be decided at the beginning of each
financial year, will be available to the Recovered Assets Fund
and will therefore enable the monies to be recycled into anti
drugs programmes, asset recovery pump priming initiatives, community
regeneration initiatives and local crime reduction partnerships.
386. Just very quickly, Chairman. You mentioned
the planning stage and quite rightly you said you may need more
notice of the question but in supplying the Committee with further
information could you tell us at the same time what the criteria
were for the calculation at planning stage? In other words, did
you start from a sum of money in order to see how many staff you
could get for a number of cases expected? I think it would be
very interesting for us in future to know exactly on what basis
the current plan was established? When coming back to us and informing
us how the figures were arrived at could you tell us what the
criteria were which enabled that calculation?
(Mr Stadlen) Certainly.
The Reverend Martin Smyth
387. Following through that question, in your
analysis and figures, I can understand you speak about 15 for
the first year but then you speak about building up to 20 thereafter.
Yet agreeing with your understanding that proportionality cannot
be completely accurate, have you come to conclusion (a) that those
workers in Ireland are slower and less efficient than the British
workers or have you come to conclusion (b) that there is less
criminality in the United Kingdom of this nature than in Ireland
because those are two of the questions in my mind? The other question
I would have to ask is the Home Office still deals with this for
Northern Ireland, why have you not actually considered yet the
numbers required in Northern Ireland?
(Mr Stadlen) Obviously we do not think that the staff
in Ireland are slower or that they have less crime to contend
with. The planning has had to be done and the powers have had
to be drafted with the UK in mind. So far as Northern Ireland
is concerned, we have been working very closely with the Northern
Ireland Office from the outset. You will have seen, I do not know
whether you are aware of this, the Bill makes specific provision
for Northern Ireland. It requires the Director to indicate in
his annual plan how he will perform his functions in Northern
Ireland. It requires him to appoint an Assistant Director for
Northern Ireland and to consult the Secretary of State in making
that appointment. One would hope that those provisions will ensure
that the Agency is able to be fully effective in dealing with
the particular needs and circumstances of Northern Ireland.
388. You did say in response to the Chairman
earlier that you had not considered the numbers required for Northern
Ireland and the question is this because it has not come through
to the Northern Ireland Office or from yourself that you have
not worked out the numbers which might be required?
(Mr Stadlen) I think the best answer I can give at
the moment is that the planning assumptions have been done in
a fairly broad brush way and how the resources are to be distributed
between England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be a matter to
be decided by the Director in consultation with the Home Office
and the Northern Ireland Office.
389. On a planning basis, what do you expect
the Agency's outturn to be in Northern Ireland in terms of the
number of civil and criminal cases a year?
(Mr Stadlen) Again, I do not think we have got a figure
that we can give you which is specific to Northern Ireland.
390. But you have got a UK figure. You just
do not know how it will be broken down?
(Mr Stadlen) That is right.
391. Would you not expect it to be broken down
roughly in terms of the population?
(Mr Stadlen) I do not think it necessarily follows
that it will be broken down by reference to population. As I say,
the Director has to take account of the particular needs and circumstances
of Northern Ireland, he has to provide for Northern Ireland in
his annual plan. No doubt he will be expected to take account
also of the organised crime strategy for Northern Ireland.
392. But you have taken account of that in planning
the staffing and funding of this Agency?
(Mr Stadlen) We have looked at the position in the
UK as a whole.
(Mr Stadlen) I cannot say any more than that. Decisions
about how the resources are going to be split between England,
Wales and Northern Ireland are decisions which have yet to be
394. You did not discover or seek to discover
or decide whether Northern Ireland was going to be a special cases
in terms of needing more resources, the same resources or less
resources than the rest of the UK?
(Mr Stadlen) It will certainly receive special treatment
in the sense that there is a plan to set up a branch in Northern
395. That does not actually answer my question,
Mr Stadlen. Have you made an assessment of whether you will need
more resources per head of population because it is Northern Ireland
because of the situation there, about the same or less?
(Mr Stadlen) That issue is being looked at. We do
not yet have a decision.
396. It was not considered when you came up
with the overall UK plan?
(Mr Stadlen) Certainly we consulted the Northern Ireland
Office and worked closely with the Northern Ireland Office in
producing our planning estimates for the purposes.
397. Did they tell you they had special problems?
(Mr Stadlen) Yes, they did.
398. Which would indicate to you that perhaps
more resources than you would normally have expected might be
(Mr Stadlen) That is possible but as I say no decision
on that has yet been taken. I think that analysis needs to be
399. In that case, if I may say so, if you do
find that Northern Ireland requires extra resources, more than
you had prepared, that implies, because you are now on a set number
and figure, that the rest of the UK is going to have less?
(Mr Stadlen) That clearly is right, yes. The distribution
has not yet been decided. By definition the more you give to Northern
Ireland the less there would be for England and Wales. There is,
of course, also a spending round currently underway, a spending
review for future years.