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Departmental Public Expenditure

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to consult the relevant trades unions on (a) his Department's budget and (b) planned reductions in that budget for (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. (247071)

Planning work has been under way since September 2008 to determine how the Ministry of Justice will live within its spending review settlement, secure £1 billion of savings by 2010-11 and improve performance levels. We have agreed a revised consultative framework with the unions and have held regular meetings with them throughout this period, with the next planned meeting at the corporate level provisionally scheduled for 22 January 2009; we are awaiting confirmation of departmental trade union side availability.

We have now completed the process of due diligence which has enabled us to set budgets for business groups for 2009-10. These have been published in the MOJ Corporate Plan on 19 January, a copy of which together with other performance and efficiency related communications to staff will be shared with the unions ahead of wider circulation. The Corporate Plan will also be available in the Library of the House. Budgetary allocations will be discussed with the unions at our next meeting.

Following issue of the Corporate Plan, business groups will work in earnest to develop their own business plans. These plans will address in detail how the Department will meet the performance and efficiency challenges. Going forward and under the provisions of the Consultative Framework, consultation will take place with the unions at a local level or, when appropriate, at a corporate level.

The recent pre-Budget report contained an announcement of an additional £5 billion value for money saving to be delivered in 2010-11 across the public sector. Decisions have yet to be made as to how those savings will be allocated between Departments but once this is clear we will need to consider the implications for us. This means it will be a little while before we can publish figures for that year. Once they have settled, we will share again details of the allocations with union colleagues.