Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Thirsk and Malton)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Rehabilitation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to rehabilitate offenders.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 19 June 2019

We are committed to ensuring prisons are places where offenders can turn their backs on crime – reducing reoffending and keeping the public safe. In order for prisons to enable rehabilitation, they must first be places of safety and so we are taking urgent action to improve prison safety and security, alongside reforms to overhaul the system to focus on the rehabilitation of offenders.

We have invested £70 million to improve safety, security and decency in prisons, allowing us to fund new security scanners, improved searching techniques, phone-blocking technology and a financial crime unit to target criminals operating in prisons. Alongside this, we have taken immediate action to strengthen the frontline with over 4,700 new prison officers.

To reduce reoffending, we are implementing a cohesive plan to ensure offenders receive the right interventions to meet their individual needs. This includes investing £7 million in in-cell telephones to allow prisoners to maintain important family ties, and tackling health issues such as drug addiction through our drugs strategy.

We want to ensure that everyone leaving prison has access to a secure job and stable accommodation. Last year we launched the Education and Employment strategy to ensure offenders are set on a path to employment from the outset. Governors now have control to commission education provision that leads to work and we are engaging with employers to take on prisoners on ROTL or after release via the New Futures Network, which has had more than 230 businesses register to work with prisons since its launch. We also recently made changes so that Governors can now consider Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) earlier and in more cases to enable prisoners to enter the workplace sooner.

Through the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy we have invested £6 million in pilot schemes bringing together prisons, local authorities, probation providers to help offenders find accommodation on release.

Q
(Leeds East)
Asked on: 11 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the prison operator competition to date; and what estimate he has made of the projected cost of that competition.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 19 June 2019

The estimated cost for the Prison Operator Competition up to April 2019 is £1.8m. The estimated projected cost of the competition (including costs to date) is £5.5m. The estimated costs cover the staffing and external advice required to develop and run the competition.

Q
(North East Hampshire)
Asked on: 11 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offences Against Children: Prosecutions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy (a) to toughen sentencing guidelines for people found to have watched videos of child abuse and (b) to not implement the recommendation of the report, published by JUSTICE on 10 June 2019, entitled Prosecuting Sexual Offences, that calls for people found in possession of indecent images of children to not face prosecution if they successfully complete a Conditional Diversion Scheme.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 19 June 2019

Sentencing guidelines are a matter for the independent Sentencing Council. The courts are required to follow any guidelines relevant to the case before them, including the definitive guideline on Sexual Offences which came into effect on 1 April 2014.

The Government has no current plans to implement the recommendation of the JUSTICE report to pilot a conditional diversion scheme for individuals who have viewed indecent images of children.

Q
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 11 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice: Empty Property
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish the name and location of the land and buildings owned by his Department that is (a) sitting empty and (b) in the process of being sold or disposed of; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 19 June 2019

The UK Government is a significant landowner. The current Government Estate Strategy sets out the Government's vision to create an efficient, fit-for-purpose sustainable estate. As a Government we are delivering this vision, ensuring that the estate is fit for purpose, is frequently reviewed and aligned to the Estate Strategy, and is managed in an efficient and effective way.

Land and empty buildings owned by the Ministry of Justice that are in the process of being disposed of are as follows:

Land and empty buildings that is in the process of being disposed of

Site name

Location

Current status

Alton Magistrates ' Court

Hampshire

In progress

Aylesbury New Crown Site (land)

Buckinghamshire

In progress

Birmingham Masshouse (land)

Birmingham

In progress

Birmingham Youth Court

Birmingham

Preparing for disposal

Chichester Combined Court

West Sussex

In progress

Chichester Magistrates’ Court

West Sussex

In progress

Chippenham Magistrates’ Court

Wiltshire

In progress

Ebbw Vale (land)

Blaenau Gwent

In progress

Harlow Magistrates' Court

Essex

In progress

Hartlepool Magistrates’ & County Court

County Durham

In progress

Runcorn (Halton) Magistrates' Court

Cheshire

In progress

Scunthorpe Magistrates' and County Court

Lincolnshire

In progress

Scunthorpe Magistrates' Court Offices

Lincolnshire

In progress

Sheffield Tribunal - East Parade

South Yorkshire

In progress

Sunderland County Court

Tyne and Wear

In progress

Telford County Court

Shropshire

Preparing for disposal

Torquay - Riviera Way (land)

Devon

In progress

Torquay Magistrates' Court

Devon

In progress

Former HMP Reading

Berkshire

Preparing for disposal

Morton Hall, Ex Quarters Offices

Lincolnshire

Preparing for disposal

Former Haslar Immigration Removal Centre, Gosport

Hampshire

Preparing for disposal

Former Dover Immigration Removal Centre

Kent

In progress

Former HMP Camp Hill

Isle of Wight

Preparing for disposal

Land at HMP Lindholme

South Yorkshire

In progress

Land at HMP Littlehey

Cambridgeshire

In progress

Former HMP Blantyre House

Kent

Preparing for disposal

Land at HMP Gartree

Leicestershire

Preparing for disposal

Probation property, Leek

Staffordshire

Preparing for disposal

Note: 1. The prison, probation and court estates contain empty land and buildings which are currently retained for operational purposes.

2. Excludes properties that are in the process of being disposed of and in operational use.

3. Excludes two empty prison officers quarters, the details of which have been excluded for security reasons.

Q
(Leeds East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Courts: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the cumulative number of years of experience held by courts staff was in (a) 2010 and (b) 2018 by bands (i) a, (ii) b, (iii) c, (iv) d, (v) e and (vi) f.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 19 June 2019

The cumulative experience of all HMCTS staff between Bands A and F was 197,334.2 years in 2018. The earliest held comparable data is from 2012 and shows 165,045 years. This shows an increase of 32,289.2 over the period. The following table shows a breakdown by grade as requested. This shows an increase in cumulative experience at every grade.

Grade

March 2012 cumulative service

March 2018 cumulative service

Differential

Band A

6,052.9

6,582.2

529.3

Band B

19,479.0

22,006.6

2,527.6

Band C

9,963.1

11,424.7

1,461.6

Band D

35,811.6

36,956.8

1,145.1

Band E

77,702.1

100,644.5

22,942.4

Band F

16,036.1

19,719.3

3,683.2

Total

165,045.0

197,334.2

32,289.2

We were unable to provide data from 2010 as HMCTS did not exist in its current form until 2011. Prior to this there were multiple business units that held their own people data, which is likely to impact upon the service length considerably as many staff would have worked in courts and tribunals for many years before this It should be noted that the data from 2012 is drawn from a different HR system than that from 2018 and as such is unlikely to be comparing like for like. As with any large data system, there are also likely to be some inaccuracies. Our data covers all staff who work operationally in HMCTS, not just court staff. We are unable to split the data further to include those only in courts.

Q
Asked by Louise Haigh
(Sheffield, Heeley)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 14 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Randox Testing Services: Compensation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information his Department holds on whether damages have been paid to people as a result of manipulation of forensic toxicology results at Randox.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 19 June 2019

The Government is unable to comment on compensation payments relating to the manipulation of forensic toxicology results at Randox until the criminal investigation into this matter is complete.

Q
(Bolton South East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 14 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Race and Ethnicity Board
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people are members of the Race and Ethnicity Board that was established as a result of the Lammy Review; how many hours the members of that Board have worked in the last 12 months; what the budget is of that Board; and whether the Budget has remained the same in each year since that Board was established.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 19 June 2019

As part of the Government’s response to the Lammy Review, we have set up a Race and Ethnicity Board to oversee progress on the recommendations, and the wider agenda of race disparity. The Board currently has circa 22 members and is chaired by the Ministry of Justice Director General for Policy, Communications and Analysis. Membership of the Board includes senior level representation from departmental policy groups (from Ministry of Justice and other government departments), operational bodies such as HM Prison and Probation Service, HM Courts and Tribunal Service, and the Crown Prosecution Service, and external members. It is not possible to isolate individual time spent on race disparity work, as the board members hold these positions as part of their wider work responsibilities. However, the board was set up in January 2018 and has since met on a quarterly basis. The board does not have a dedicated budget as work is resourced separately by the various organisations responsible for actions to address racial disparities.

Q
(Ashfield)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 14 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Legal Aid Scheme: Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether cases involving the risk of homelessness fall under the scope of legal aid.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 19 June 2019

Legal aid funding continues to be available for cases where an individual is at immediate risk of homelessness, or where there are disrepairs which seriously threaten the life or health of the individual or their family.

Legal aid also remains available for housing possession cases, including the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme.

Legal aid may be sought via the Exceptional Case Funding scheme (ECF) in any matter where failure to provide it would breach, or risk breaching, the European Convention on Human Rights or enforceable EU law, subject to the statutory means and merits tests.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on increasing the pay of civil servants in his Department.
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of offenders sentenced to custody have served less than half their full sentence term due to early release in each year since 2007.
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of offenders were released from custody having served their full sentence in each year since 2000.
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of convicted offenders did not receive an immediate custodial sentence for (a) drug offences, (b) possession of weapons, (c) robbery, (d) sexual offences, (e) theft and (f) violence against the person in each year since 2007.
Q
Asked by Emma Hardy
(Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the proportion of staff turnover has been in HMP Hull in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.
Q
Asked by Emma Hardy
(Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of service is for a prison officer at HMP Hull.
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much debt was outstanding in relation to individuals sent to prison for council tax non-payment in each year between 2010 and 2018.
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what comparative assessment he has made of the average (a) cost to the public purse of a prison sentence and (b) amount of debt outstanding in cases where people have been sent to prison for council tax non-payment in each year between 2010 and 2018.
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many committal proceedings have been started against people for council tax non-payment in each year between 2010 and 2018.
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many liability orders were granted to local authorities by magistrates in England and Wales for the non payment of council tax in each year between 2010 and 2018.
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people paid their council tax debt in full to avoid committal to prison in England and Wales in each year between 2010 and 2018.
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people paid their council tax debt in full part way through committal proceedings in England and Wales in each year between 2010 and 2018.
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