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Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much has been spent on (a) departmental Christmas parties and (b) staff entertainment in the last three years. (243748)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 743W, to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Prisk) which provides information on the spend on Christmas functions in 2007-08.

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. The data are 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.

Spend on entertainment could be provided across the Ministry only at disproportionate cost.

All expenditure on entertainment should be incurred in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety that are based on the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.