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Government Departments: Carbon Emissions

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2010, Official Report, column 876W, on the Sustainable Development Commission: Treasury, for what reason the baseline carbon emissions of (a) the Home Office and (b) the Ministry of Justice have been changed. (320361)

Baseline changes are tightly managed at the centre of government and are permitted for two reasons:

1. A baseline adjustment—relating to changes to the estate. A baseline adjustment is permitted in instances when an organisation takes on or relinquishes specific functions or responsibilities (for example takes responsibility for an additional Executive agency).

2. A baseline correction—relating to changes to the data. A baseline correction can be made where baseline data previously supplied is incorrect or incomplete. In Instances where additional or more accurate data for the baseline year comes to light the original baseline data can be revised.

The Home Office (HO) Carbon from Offices baseline was amended in 2008-09 to account for machinery of government changes. These involved the transfer of the Southport building from the Office for National Statistics, and the export of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) non-custodial buildings to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The NOMS transfer was deferred from 2007-08 to enable the proper separation of baseline data. In reviewing the baseline to facilitate the separation, Home Office identified better quality data for its own core department. This improvement also formed part of the amendment in 2008-09.

The Ministry of Justice Carbon from Offices baseline was amended in 2008-09 to account for the transfer of the NOMS non-custodial buildings from Home Office, and in response to reviews of energy consumption data held by HM Courts Service and the National Archives, which resulted in the availability of better quality baseline data for both organisations. Subsequently, the MOJ baseline was corrected to exclude the NOMS non-custodial element, as during the 2008-09 reporting phase it became clear that NOMS could not report a full consumption data across the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate target areas. MOJ aims to ensure NOMS reports fully in 2009-10.