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National Offender Management Service

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the business case for the National Offender Management Information Project. [199998]

Paul Goggins: The business case for the National Offender Management Information Project is not yet completed. It is expected to be agreed in July 2005. No decision has been taken on publication.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish (a) the Business Case, (b) the Gateway Review and (c) the Risk Assessment of the National Offender Management Service. [208683]

Paul Goggins: A request for all three items of information has been received under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. That request is now being considered and, if the documents are released under the Act, I will consider whether they should also be published.

OASys System

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the original deadlines for connecting the prison and probation services' OASys IT systems have been met. [199895]

Paul Goggins: Roll out of the probation and prison OASys IT systems has gone well. The prison service completed its roll out by the end of 2004 and all probation areas have been using OASys IT since last summer. However our plans to connect the two systems are behind schedule.

We decided that it made sense, first, to pilot a limited version of the software that would provide the connection between the two systems, with full deployment of the final version of the software to follow at a later date. At the beginning of 2004 our aim was to begin the pilot in July and have the final version ready for deployment in September, with a view to completing roll out across the probation service and prison service around the end of 2004.
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The pilot began in July as planned, linking one probation area to several prisons. However the effort needed to develop and support the pilot was greater than expected, which delayed completion of the final version of the software until the end of November. The final version is now in use across the prison service and in the pilot probation area.

Plans for roll out across the rest of the probation service have been put back in order to give priority to work that will enable OASys to support implementation of the sentencing provisions of the 2003 Criminal Justice Act in April. We now expect to achieve full connectivity between the prison and probation OASys IT systems by autumn 2005.

Offending Behaviour Courses

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what expenditure he expects to be incurred by the Prison Service in providing faith-based offending behaviour courses in (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06. [206880]

Paul Goggins: Details of the expenditure incurred by the Prison Service in supporting faith-based offending behaviour courses are not held centrally.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason it was not possible to respond to the question tabled on 26 October by the hon. Member for Clydesdale concerning the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting of 25 to 26 October before Prorogation. [202523]

Fiona Mactaggart: Ministers make every effort to answer questions substantively in accordance with performance guidelines and especially before Prorogation. However this is not always possible. A drafting error meant that my hon. Friend's question answer was referred back for amendment, but unfortunately the corrected version was still in draft at Prorogation. I am sorry a substantive response was not provided. Where right hon. and hon. Members did not receive a substantive response it is open to them to re-table their question this session.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the question tabled on 3 December 2004, by the hon. Member for New Forest, East, ref. 203298, asking how many departmental files have been destroyed in each of the past five years. [208330]

Fiona Mactaggart: I replied to the hon. Member on 2 February 2005.

Peter Sutcliffe

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what factors he took into consideration before his decision to allow Peter Sutcliffe to visit Arnside in Cumbria on 17 January; and what costs were incurred in (a) preparing for and (b) undertaking that visit by (i) Cumbria Constabulary, (ii) Broadmoor and (iii) other public bodies. [211310]

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Paul Goggins [holding answer 27 January 2005]: In considering any leave of a restricted patient from a secure hospital on compassionate grounds, the Secretary of State makes a thorough assessment of any risks to the safety of others and the strength of the compassionate grounds. He also takes into account the potential distress to victims or victims' families.

The costs of preparing for the visit can be provided only at disproportionate cost. On the day of the visit four staff were used from Broadmoor at an approximate cost of £1,800 as well as two police officers from Cumbria Constabulary at an approximate cost of £450.

Police Cells (London)

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were being held in police cells at police stations in the Greater London area on the latest date for which figures are available. [210314]

Paul Goggins: Information recorded on the Prison Service Central IT system states that, as at 21 January 2005, there were no prisoners being held in police cells in the Greater London area.

Police Training

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effects on the fitness of police cadets of the shortening of the basic training period; and if he will make a statement. [203020]

Ms Blears: The reduction in the length of Stage 2 of police probationer training from 15 weeks to 12 has taken place within the context of discussions with Centrex over their budget for 2004–05. Representatives of Centrex, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and force training managers considered the length of Stage 2 in detail and concluded that 12 weeks should be sufficient to deliver a comprehensive probationer training programme.

In restructuring Stage 2, some elements, such as drill work and passing out parades, were removed. The approach of the modernised programme is to encourage student officers to take on increased personal responsibility for development, in particular their fitness. This philosophy should help to raise the long-term fitness of student officers, and help them maintain good fitness levels throughout their police careers.

There is no specific fitness assessment during Stage 2. However, candidates are required to pass a fitness test as part of the recruitment process.

Press Officers

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent by his Department on press officers in each of the past eight years, broken down by grade. [203517]

Fiona Mactaggart: Press officers within the Home Office are employed at the Information Officer (IO) and
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Senior Information Officer (SIO) grades, the costs of these staff for the years requested are as follows:




(15) Expansion of the Home Office press office followed an external consultant's review of its staffing and operation in 1999 and recommended the creation of the Newsdesk" so as to better meet the demands of the media. This improved efficiency from losing in excess of 20 per cent. of the calls pre-expansion, to a position where from June 2003 to June 2004 91.8 per cent. of the 67,070 press calls received by the Newsdesk were answered.
(16) The Home Office press office and the prison service press office merged in May 2001

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