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Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the star system for measuring the performance of prisons was introduced; what criteria it employs; and if he will make a statement. [109521]

The Director General of the Prison Service announced the introduction of a performance rating system for establishments in England and Wales on 8 April 2003.All establishments will be assessed on a performance scale of 1 to 4, with level 4 for a prison delivering exceptionally high performance and level 1 indicating a poor performer. The ratings will be published on the Prison Service website for the first time at the end of June 2003.

Performance LevelCriteria
4Exceptionally high performing, consistently meeting or exceedings targets, no significant operating problems, achieving significantly more than similar establishments with similar resources.
3Meeting the: majority of targets, experiencing no significant problems in doing so, delivering a reasonable and decent regime.
Performance LevelCriteria
2Basically stable, secure and providing a limited but decent regime; experiencing significant problems in meeting targets and/or experiencing major operational problems.
1Failing to provide secure, ordered, or decent regimes and/ or has significant shortfalls against the majority of key targets.
The Director General will make the assessment for public sector establishments, in consultation with Directors and Area Managers.The Commissioner for Correctional Services will make the assessment for contracted prisons. Assessment will be reviewed quarterly and are based upon a range of factors:

  • 1. Finance and performance information using the Prison Service Weighted Scorecard to assess relative performance against key targets.
  • 2. Compliance with Prison Service Standards.
  • 3. Findings from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and Boards of Visitors.
  • 4. The views of Prison Service Area Managers and the Prison Service Management Board, allowing for assessment of more subjective factors such as decency and the prison's commitment to delivering change.
  • The rating system supports a new Benchmarking programme, which introduces new ways to recognise and reward the best prisons and arrangements to improve performance in all others.