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Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many flags his Department owns; and what the cost was of maintaining such flags in the latest year for which figures are available. (287974)

The number of flags within Ministry of Justice HQ is currently 13. This is due to two flag poles with multiple flags at both 102 Petty France and Selborne House (a building which we no longer occupy).

Data on the number of flags within HM Courts Service are not held centrally by HMCS Estates nor the Regional Estates Offices and the Judges Lodgings Management Team. Detailed information on the number of flags would necessitate calls to individual courts/lodgings with flag poles and can be collated only at disproportionate costs.

Every prison establishment within NOMS has a Union Flag and Prison Service Flag. There are 122 Public Sector Prisons with 244 flags.

The latest expenditure on flag maintenance by the Ministry in the financial year 2008-09 is stated as follows:


Ministry of Justice HQ


HM courts service


Tribunals service


Office of the public guardian




1 Of the £35,743 for HM courts service, £24,052 was incurred on the provision and removal of flags, as well as flag maintenance. It is not possible to separate the two elements without a detail review of invoices that would incur disproportionate cost.

Flag maintenance expenditure includes the testing, inspection and surveying of the flags to ensure that they are in full operating condition.

Every flag pole/mast is inspected each year by the maintenance department held locally by prisons and probation boards/trusts of the National Offenders Management Service and the information can be collated only at disproportionate cost.