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Christmas

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many Christmas functions (a) he, (b) officials from his Department and (c) officials from its executive agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2007-08; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. (226950)

The information requested is listed as follows.

Secretary of State for Justice.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) hosted one official Christmas function in 2007-08. This was an informal event at which approximately 50 officials attended and it was requested that each official should provide their own drinks. A minimal amount was spent on the provision of refreshments, the total cost of which did not exceed £50.

The Secretary of State for Justice did not attend any Christmas functions other than the one he hosted.

Ministry of Justice HQ and Associated Offices, HM Courts Service, The Tribunals Service, Office of the Public Guardian, National Offender Management Service including HM Prison Service and National Probation Service, Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Attendance at and hosting of hospitality events including Christmas parties by departmental staff may be recorded in local hospitality registers, in accordance with Ministry of Justice policy. This data is not collated centrally, and gathering information from local registers (including operational establishments) would be possible only at disproportionate cost.

The Department does not fund Christmas parties although staff may personally contribute towards the cost of such an event.

At any time of year awards may be made through the reward and recognition scheme in line with departmental guidelines for team celebrations including modest parties.