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Departmental Legal Costs

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what expenditure her Department and its agencies have incurred on external legal advice and representation in each year since 1997; and for what purposes such professional services have been commissioned. (300578)

The information is as follows:

DWP legal category spending by year

Spend (£)

2009-101

12,434,882

2008-09

18,854,926

2007-08

18,864,410

2006-07

14,851,405

2005-06

18,564,671

2004-05

15,444,475

2003-04

17,263,198

1 The 2009-10 spend is for the period 1 April to 31 October 2009.

DWP’s costs for external legal advice and representation are captured under a range of existing commercial contracts that relate to the following areas. A more detailed breakdown of expenditure or the scope of previous contracts from 1997 onwards could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

1. IS/IT

acts as the strategic legal adviser and provides project support to DWP and its corporate information technology directorate. A range of legal services for existing and prospective information service/technology contracts are provided.

2. Human Resources

provides advice, guidance and assistance for HR policy development, training and awareness products, risk assessment, private prosecution, banning and warning letters to customers, injunctions, international law and general legal matters as necessary. Where appropriate it conducts litigation proceedings for DWP in employment tribunal claims and personal injury compensation claims.

3. Estates

provides advice to the commercial estates function in support of the PRIME estates contract and associated advice in relation to general property law.

4. Commercial Legal Services

provides legal advice and commercial guidance on DWP services delivered on behalf of welfare to work customers and on general commercial policy issues.

5. In House Lawyers

DWP’s in house lawyers expenditure on external legal services comprises a range of payments, including those to meet other sides’ costs, where these are required to be paid as a result of litigation; payments made to counsel from the Attorney-General’s approved list for prosecutions, litigation or advisory services; and payments to local agent solicitors for prosecutions, some civil litigation and other occasional work.