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Departmental Travel

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Solicitor-General (1) how much the Law Officers’ Departments spent on travel (a) within and (b) outside the UK for officials in each of the last 10 years; and what percentage of the Departments' overall expenditure was spent on such travel in each such year; (181540)

(2) how many overseas visits by officials in the Law Officers’ Department took place in each of the last 10 years; which countries were visited; and how much was spent on such visits in each such year.

All foreign travel under taken by civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the “Civil Service Management Code”.

The information is as follows:

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

CPS spent the following amounts on travel (a) within and (b) outside the UK for officials in each of the last 10 years and the table shows the percentage of the Department’s overall expenditure spent on such travel in each of those years.

Financial year

Within UK (£000)

Outside UK (£000)

Within UK (%)

Outside UK (%)

1997-98

3,208

29

1.08

0.01

1998-99

3,305

25

1.01

0.01

1999-2000

3,867

39

1.15

0.01

2000-01

4,537

77

1.24

0.02

2001-02

5,305

144

1.21

0.03

2002-03

6,208

167

1.28

0.03

2003-04

6,428

196

1.17

0.04

2004-05

6,227

271

1.04

0.05

2005-06

6,377

318

1.00

0.05

2006-07

6,786

315

1.03

0.05

For the years 1997-98 to 2003-04 the outside UK figures reflect only overseas travel costs, thereafter the costs of overseas accommodation are also included.

The CPS spent the following amounts on overseas visits in each of the last 10 years.

Financial year

Amount spent (£000)

1997-98

29

1998-99

25

1999-2000

39

2000-01

77

2001-02

144

2002-03

167

2003-04

196

2004-05

271

2005-06

318

2006-07

315

For the years 1997-98 to 2003-04 the figures reflect only overseas travel costs, thereafter the costs of overseas accommodation are also included.

The CPS does not have details of the number of visits made or the countries visited by officials in the last 10 years. From May 2007, the CPS commenced a new contract for the provision of overseas travel, and they do not have access to travel information from the previous supplier. This information could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO)

RCPO was created on 18 April 2005.

During 2005-06, £212,255.39 was spent on domestic travel and subsistence, and £18,841.10 was spent on travel outside the UK. These expenditures represented 0.67 per cent. of RCPO’s annual expenditure.

During 2006-07, £323,381.95 was spent on domestic travel and subsistence, and £24,588.78 was spent on travel outside the UK. These expenditures represented 0.92 per cent. of RCPO’s annual expenditure.

During 2005-06, 30 overseas trips were made at a cost of £18,841.10.

During 2006-07, 41 overseas trips were made at a cost of £24,588.78.

Countries visited were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Hong Kong, Denmark, France, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain and USA.

Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

The SFO’s officials have spent the following amounts and percentages of the Serious Fraud Office’s overall expenditure on travel within and outside the UK in each of the last 10 years:

£000

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

UK

188

209

276

367

383

323

432

325

369

Overseas

55

115

191

202

110

204

186

317

258

Total cost

243

324

467

569

493

527

618

642

628

% UK and O/S travel

1.51

2.05

2.33

2.57

1.87

1.86

1.92

1.61

1.55

The SFO does not keep a central register of how many overseas visits its officials undertook nor countries visited. The information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Treasury Solicitor (includes Attorney-Generals Office and HMCPSI)

Expenditure on travel by the Treasury Solicitor’s Department met from public funds for each of the last 10 years has been as follows:

(a) travel within the UK(b) travel outside the UK

Expenditure

% of overall spend

Expenditure

% of overall spend

1997-98

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1998-99

55,318

0.39

28,898

0.18

1999-2000

66,158

0.40

15,012

0.14

2000-01

90,986

0.44

26,058

0.06

2001-02

245,046

0.48

33,458

0.18

2002-03

208,660

0.47

67,732

0.15

2003-04

245,361

0.64

90,163

0.09

2004-05

243,732

0.30

35,916

0.09

2005-06

221,333

0.24

77,334

0.06

2006-07

255,512

0.25

117,519

0.13

The information is not readily available for 1997-98 and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The expenditure on overseas travel by the Treasury Solicitor’s Department met from public funds for each of the last 10 years has been as follows:

£

1997-98

?

1998-99

28,898

1999-2000

15,012

2000-01

26,058

2001-02

33,458

2002-03

67,732

2003-04

90,163

2004-05

35,916

2005-06

77,334

2006-07

117,519

Expenditure information for 1997-98 and information on the number of overseas visits and countries visited by officials is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Solicitor-General when she expects to answer Question (a) 181540 and (b) 181595 on departmental travel, tabled on 21 January 2008 by the hon. Member for Taunton; and what the reason for the time taken to respond is. (191406)