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Departmental Electronic Equipment

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many plasma screen televisions his Department has purchased since 2001; and what the cost has been of purchasing and installing such screens in each such year. (306079)

Flat screen televisions may be plasma or LCD. It is not possible to determine which type of flat screen has been purchased in all cases, except at the disproportionate cost of physically examining all of the TVs or retrieving all invoices which are filed locally around the business.

Similarly it is not possible to identify the purpose of these purchases in all cases, except at disproportionate cost. However, no flat screen TVs have been purchased for prisoners’ cells.

Expenditure between October 2008 to November 2009

Since October 2008, the Ministry of Justice has had one main supplier for the provision of flat screen televisions. From the start of this contract up to November 2009, £139,676 was spent on flat screen televisions. This figure excludes the costs of installation which is undertaken by local estates teams across the Ministry. Installation costs cannot be separately quantified but represent a tiny element of the work of estates teams. Procurement records indicate that flat screen television expenditure included 10 plasma screen televisions at a cost of £6,180.

It is possible, though unlikely, that some further expenditure may have been incurred outside of the contract using the Government Procurement Card (GPC). To investigate whether any flat screen televisions, DVD players or stereo equipment had been purchased with the GPC card would incur disproportionate cost.

Expenditure prior to October 2008

Prior to October 2008, there was one main supplier for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) part of the business. Expenditure under this contract was £26,454 in 2007-08, with no expenditure recorded prior to that date. It is not known whether these televisions were plasmas or LCDs.

The Tribunals Service also had a single contract for the supply of flat screen TVs. Expenditure under this contract was a fixed annual contractual sum of £10,000 per annum, starting from 2006-07. It is not known whether these televisions were plasmas or LCDs.

The wider Ministry operated numerous local contracts and it is not possible to determine total expenditure on flat screen televisions prior to October 2008 without incurring the disproportionate cost of examining individual transactions incurred under local contracts. However, between March 2006 and March 2008, 397 flat screen television screens were purchased at a total cost of £516,478 by HM Courts Service, mainly in connection with the Videolinks Project, which allows vulnerable witnesses to take part in trials without actually being present. Videolinks also connects to a number of prisons, which saves money by allowing certain meetings and proceedings to occur which would otherwise require prisoner transport and accommodation.