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Departmental Travel

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 882W, on departmental travel, how much was spent by his Department's (a) agencies and (b) executive non-departmental public bodies on (i) staff travel within the UK and (ii) international staff travel in the last 12 months. (244007)

Northern Ireland Office (NIO) agencies spent £1,772,000 in the last 12 months on staff travel. Of this total £5,000 has been identified as international travel.

More than £1,400,000 of this expenditure related to the Northern Ireland Prison Service, their main costs in this area came from training days and staff transfers:

Almost 9,000 training places were filled by staff at the Prison Service college for which they could reclaim travel expenses. The training college is based in Millisle which is a round trip of 182 and 78 miles respectively from the two main establishments which are Magilligan and Maghaberry. The other operational establishments are Hydebank Wood based in Bangor and PECCS which is also based in Maghaberry;

Excess fares are payable to staff that have been transferred to an establishment which is further from their home address than the one from which they are being transferred, this is payable for a three year period if the official remains in their new establishment.

Information for the Northern Ireland Office's executive non-departmental public bodies is an operational matter for each of the bodies, who operate independently of Government. I would encourage the hon. Member to write to the respective chief executives. Details of the NIO's non-departmental public bodies can be found in the NIO 2008 Departmental Report: _ report_2008.pdf.