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Prison Service

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many briefings have been presented to Ministers on the Tasker inquiry; what the date of each briefing was; how many pages were contained in each written briefing; and if he will make a statement. (175625)

My predecessor, the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Sutcliffe) received an oral briefing prior to a meeting with the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk (Mr. Bellingham) which included the Tasker inquiry. It has not been possible to establish the date. I received an oral briefing on 30 July 2007, covering parliamentary questions from the hon. Member about the enquiry.

I and my predecessors have received numerous written background briefings accompanying draft parliamentary questions, but the high number of questions involved means that it would involve significant disproportionate cost to establish the number and length of these briefings.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many investigations carried out by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman since 2001 have been conducted by staff who used to work for HM Prison Service; and if he will make a statement. (175628)

It is a matter for the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to determine his staff. Staff who work in the office of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman have been recruited from a wide variety of employment backgrounds, including some having previously worked for HM Prison Service and the probation service. It is right that the office has a good mix of experience across its cadre of investigators in particular, including having operational knowledge of the organisations which can be subject to investigations. This mix is kept under review. Detailed information on the precise numbers of staff, present and past, who have carried out investigations for the PPO since 2001 and have previously worked for HM Prison Service, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) full-time, (b) part-time and (c) casual staff employed by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman have previously been employed by HM Prison Service; and if he will make a statement. (175631)

It is a matter for the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to determine his staff. Staff have been recruited from a wide variety of employment backgrounds, including some having previously worked for HM Prison Service and the probation service. It is right that the office has a good mix of experience across its cadre of investigators in particular, including having operational knowledge of the organisations which can be subject to investigations. This mix is kept under review. Detailed information on the precise numbers of staff, full or part time, who have been employed by the prisons and probation ombudsman and previously employed by HM Prison Service is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.