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17 July 2008 : Column 555W—continued


Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General in what proportion of Serious Fraud Office prosecutions was pre-trial abuse claimed by the defence in each of the last 10 calendar years. [216028]

The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office does not centrally maintain statistics about applications made to a judge to stop a trail from proceedings on the basis of allegations of abuse of process.


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The SFO holds post-case reviews on conclusion of each case, which provides an opportunity for the case team to discuss and record the successes of the investigation, as well as any lessons learned from issues encountered (and resolved) for the future. This information is shared across the office to ensure that best practice is adopted throughout the organisation.

Serious Fraud Office: Recruitment

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Attorney-General plans to issue guidance to the Serious Fraud Office on its recruitment practices, with particular regard to recruitment of former police officers. [216032]

The Solicitor-General: No.

Serious Fraud Office: Resignations

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General what reasons were given to the Attorney General for the resignation of the former Chief Executive of the Serious Fraud Office. [216030]

The Solicitor-General: The head of the Serious Fraud Office is the Director. The previous Director, Robert Wardle, was appointed on the basis of a fixed term contract which ended on 20th April 2008.

Serious Fraud Office: Standards

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the (a) targets and (b) priorities of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) are to be reviewed following the review of the SFO Final Report published by the Attorney General in June. [214971]

The Solicitor-General: The SFO is currently involved in a fundamental review as a result of the arrival of a new Director on 21 April 2008 and the publication of Jessica de Grazia’s Report on the Serious Fraud Office published in June 2008.

As part of this review the Director has already made a number of changes designed to strengthen the leadership team, improve staff training and to shorten the time it takes to get SFO cases into Court. The recommendations made in Jessica de Grazia’s report which relate to the operation and management of the SFO are currently being considered very carefully as part of this, and further developments to build on the performance of the SFO will be introduced over the coming year.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General whether there are proposals to (a) improve the Serious Fraud Office’s case management procedures and (b) seek efficiency savings in Serious Fraud Office investigations and prosecutions. [215315]

The Solicitor-General: The recently appointed director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has already stated on several occasions that one of his priorities is to enable cases to be brought to court more quickly.

In addition, in March 2007 the SFO established the Case Management Reform Programme (CMRP), which is a business change programme designed to contribute to the strategic aims and objectives of the SFO. In
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particular, the CMRP aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of SFO casework processes, thus increasing the probability that cases will withstand procedural challenge and be concluded within much shorter time frames.

Serious Fraud Office: Working Conditions

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment she has made of the findings in the recent final report on the Serious Fraud Office on its working culture; and if she will make a statement. [216033]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General and I are aware that the new Director of the Serious Fraud Office has taken account of Jessica de Grazia’s findings and his own assessment since arrival and that he is taking forward a programme of change within the SFO, including of communication and ways of working. This is a welcome approach. In this he will be building on the good work of very many staff in the SFO, which was also acknowledged by Jessica de Grazia.

Children, Schools and Families

Children in Care: Clinical Trials

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what regulations and guidelines govern the participation of children in care in drug trials. [218463]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

Clinical Trials in the European Union are undertaken in accordance with the requirements of Directive 2001/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the European Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the member states relating to implementation of good clinical practice in the conduct of clinical trials on medicinal products for human use. The Directive provides for the protection of clinical trial subjects, including minors, and sets out requirements for the ethical review of clinical trials. The Directive provides for a general rule that minors may only be included in a clinical trial if the informed consent of the parents or legal representative has been obtained.

The Directive was transposed into United Kingdom legislation as the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations on 1 May 2004. Two further Commission Directives setting out the detailed principles and guidelines of good clinical practice have been agreed and implemented into UK law. On 1 May 2008 the Government amended UK legislation, following a public consultation, to allow minors to be entered into a trial prior to consent having been obtained from a person with parental responsibility or legal representative in trials of emergency medicines where and while certain conditions are met.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) new builds and (b) major refurbishments were completed
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by his Department for a cost in excess of £0.5 million in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08 to which the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method or equivalent was applied; how many such buildings were assessed as (A) pass, (B) good, (C) very good and (D) excellent; and if he will make a statement. [213692]

Kevin Brennan: The Department for Children, Schools and Families was created on 28 June 2007 and has not completed any new builds since that time. Since 2007, the Department has undertaken one major refurbishment with a value in excess of £0.5 million where BREEAM is applicable. The work is ongoing and a BREEAM assessment will be undertaken once the refurbishment has been completed.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department spent on developing the ‘Build your PlaySpace’ on the departmental website; and if he will make a statement. [217673]

Kevin Brennan: The Department developed the ‘Build your PlaySpace’ interactive tool to engage children and young people in the fair play consultation in a fun and interactive way. The tool is one strand of a wider consultation strategy that includes an activity poster/competition for children and young people, live events to encourage local dialogue with children, young people, their families and practitioners and written consultation.

The cost of developing the ‘Build your PlaySpace’ tool was £50,000 plus VAT.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many people have used the ‘Build your PlaySpace’ on his Department's website; and if he will make a statement. [217674]

Kevin Brennan: The Department developed the ‘Build your PlaySpace’ interactive tool to engage children and young people in the fair play consultation in a fun and interactive way. The tool is one strand of a wider consultation strategy that includes an activity poster/competition for children and young people, live events to encourage local dialogue with children, young people, their families and practitioners and written consultation.

The number of people who have used the ‘Build your PlaySpace’ tool as at 16 July 2008 is 9,286. The interactive tool will be available until 18 August 2008.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on hospitality in the last 12 months. [219696]

Kevin Brennan: The purchase of hospitality is recorded under the general heading of Meeting Refreshments. Details of expenditure on hospitality incurred by the Department over the last 12 months and recorded in the Department's Integrated Financial Information System are set out:


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DCSF was established under Machinery of Government Changes on 28 June 2007. The response also covers those areas of responsibility held by its predecessor, the Department for Education and Skills (DFES).

Departmental Pay

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much has been paid in bonuses to staff of each non-departmental body for which his Department has responsibility in the last 12 months. [219282]

Kevin Brennan: The Department does not hold information on the bonuses paid to NDPB staff.

Education: Young Offender Institutions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many young offenders were assessed on reception into custody as having literacy and numeracy skills below level one at each young offender institution in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement; [219242]

(2) what proportion of young people entering secure facilities were tested for literacy and numeracy skills in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement; [219245]

(3) what proportion of people in young offender institutions had a reading age of (a) entry level 1 and 2 and (b) entry level 3 in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [219248]

Beverley Hughes: The following table gives the number of young offenders who were assessed on reception into custody as having literacy and numeracy skills below level one (those assessed at Pre-entry Level, Entry Level 1, Entry Level 2 and Entry Level 3) at each Young Offender Institution in the last 12 months:

Establishment Lit Total

Ashfield

467

584

Brinsford

277

368

Castington

169

213

Cookham Wood

8

22

Downview

10

35

Eastwood Park

25

41

Eastwood Park

676

891

Foston

0

0

Hindley

164

226

Huntercombe

167

253

Lancaster Farms

185

263

New Hall

25

44

Parc

56

73

Parc

361

458

Thorn Cross

55

60

Warren Hill

365

391

Werrington

214

318

Wetherby

416

527

Total

4,309

5,992


The following table gives the number of juvenile young offenders assessed for literacy and numeracy skills on entry to custody in YOIs (data prior to 2003/04 are not available):


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Percentage assessed

2003/04

100.0

2004/05

97.7

2005/06

95.1

2006/07

98.0


Data from the Learning and Skills Council’s (2006-07) initial literacy assessments on for juveniles in YOIs is as follows (data prior to 2006/07 are not available):

Entry level 1 and 2 Entry level 3 Below entry level 1

2006/07

1,367

2,219

54

2007/08(1)

864

1,687

58

(1) These figures are for August 2007 to May 2008.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many hours per week of education young people in young offender institutions received on average in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement; [219246]

(2) what the attendance rate for timetabled education and training sessions in young offender institutions was in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; [219244]

(3) what proportion of young offenders supervised by young offender institutions are in full-time education, training or employment; and if he will make a statement. [219243]

Beverley Hughes: The following table shows the average number of hours of education, training and personal development activity received by juvenile offenders in young offender institutions (YOIs) for all the years that YJB data are available:

Average hours per week

2004/05

24.5

2005/06

28.2

2006/07

26.2


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