asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they intend to amend the powers of the Prison Ombudsman; and, if so, whether they will state the nature of the proposed amendments and the reasons for making them; andWhether they will consult Parliament before amending the powers of the Prison Ombudsman.
My right honourable friend the Home Secretary met the Prison Ombudsman, Sir Peter Woodhead, on 28th February. They agreed to clarify the Ombudsman's terms of reference. The Home Secretary said that the terms of reference cover complaints by prisoners about decisions taken by Prison Service staff. They do not cover decisions made personally by Ministers or advice by Prison Service officials to Ministers. A document setting out the clarification will be issued shortly. I will place a copy in the Library.