Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"

Written Question
Prison Service Pay Review Body
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Rachel Hopkins

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral Answer on 2 February 2021, Official Report, column 829, whether he has placed any restrictions on future recommendations by the Prison Service Pay Review Body; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

It was announced by the Chancellor on 25 November 2020 that, in the interest of fairness, pay rises in the public sector will be restrained and targeted for the coming year (2021/22), whilst also ensuring an uplift for lower earning staff who need it most. This announcement reflects the substantial and unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on the economy, labour market, and fiscal position, which combined, have supressed earnings growth and increased redundancies in the private sector.

As such, the remit of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) and other public sector pay review bodies for the 2021/22 pay round has been restricted. The PSPRB will be gathering and considering a range of evidence in the usual way in order to develop recommendations which fall in line with the public sector pay policy

The pay policy involves a pause to any headline uplifts for all public sector workforces outside of the NHS who earn £24,000 or above. Anyone earning less than £24,000 will be protected and will receive a minimum uplift of £250, or the National Living Wage (whichever is the higher) should they qualify. The Departments proposals on how the uplift should apply to prison staff will be published and submitted to the PSPRB shortly.

The pay pause allows Government to protect public sector jobs and investment in public services as Covid-19 continues to have an impact. The position will be reassessed ahead of pay round 2022/23.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Rachel Hopkins

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral Answer on 2 February 2021, Official Report, column 829, how many and what proportion of prison officers are planned to receive the £250 rise next year, by grade.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

It was announced by the Chancellor on 25 November 2020 that, in the interest of fairness, pay rises in the public sector will be restrained and targeted for the coming year (2021/22), whilst also ensuring an uplift for lower earning staff who need it most. This announcement reflects the substantial and unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on the economy, labour market, and fiscal position, which combined, have supressed earnings growth and increased redundancies in the private sector.

As such, the remit of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) and other public sector pay review bodies for the 2021/22 pay round has been restricted. The PSPRB will be gathering and considering a range of evidence in the usual way in order to develop recommendations which fall in line with the public sector pay policy

The pay policy involves a pause to any headline uplifts for all public sector workforces outside of the NHS who earn £24,000 or above. Anyone earning less than £24,000 will be protected and will receive a minimum uplift of £250, or the National Living Wage (whichever is the higher) should they qualify. The Departments proposals on how the uplift should apply to prison staff will be published and submitted to the PSPRB shortly.

The pay pause allows Government to protect public sector jobs and investment in public services as Covid-19 continues to have an impact. The position will be reassessed ahead of pay round 2022/23.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of time was for the Tribunals Service to administer a First-tier Tribunal-Social Security and Child Support appeal for personal independence payment in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on average waiting times for personal independence payment appeals over the same period in those areas.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The latest period for which data about the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) are available is January to March 2020. The most recent tribunal statistics publications covering the period April to September 2020 do not include SSCS data due to issues identified as the tribunal was being migrated to a new operational system. The data will be made available as soon as this is resolved and the data quality assured.

(1) Information about clearance times for appeals to SSCS is published at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

Waiting times are calculated from receipt of an appeal to its final disposal. An appeal is not necessarily disposed of at its first hearing. The final disposal decision on the appeal may be reached after an earlier hearing had been adjourned (which may be directed by the judge for a variety of reasons, such as to seek further evidence), or after an earlier hearing date had been postponed (again, for a variety of reasons, often at the request of the appellant). An appeal may also have been decided at an earlier date by the First-tier Tribunal, only for the case to have gone on to the Upper Tribunal, to be returned once again to the First-tier, for its final disposal.

Throughout the pandemic, appeals have continued to be decided on the papers, or heard using telephone and other remote technology. Additionally, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has introduced safety measures so that face to face hearings can be held for any cases which cannot be decided on the papers or heard remotely. The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge, who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice.

(2) As at March 2020, there were a total of 440 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 1 appeals waiting to be listed in the Coventry venue; 2,466 in the West Midlands2; and 21,005 in England3.

SSCS data are usually registered to the venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. We cannot retrieve data based on the appellant’s actual address but can produce reports detailing the number of cases dealt with at one of our Regional centres or heard at a specific venue.

1. PIP (New Claim Appeals) which replaces Disability Living Allowance was introduced on 8 April 2013, also includes PIP Claims (Reassessments)

2. West Midlands includes the venues: Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Coventry, Nuneaton, Stoke, Shrewsbury, Hereford and Worcester.

3. Data exclude SSCS Scotland Region and Wales Region.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Rachel Hopkins

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Justice on 2 February 2021, Official Report, column 824, if he will publish his Department’s assessment of the impact on (a) recruitment, (b) retention, and (c) staff morale of the decision to reject the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000, ‘recommendation 3’. This represented a substantial increase for our largest staffing group and was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in the labour market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unpredictable changing state of the economy means that the assumptions made by the PSPRB upon which they based their recommendations have also changed. The decision to reject this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020. Prison officers did however benefit from awards of between 2.5% and 7.5% for the current financial year (2020/21). This delivered an above inflation increase and is the third year in a row that prison staff have benefitted from an award of at least 2%.

The estimated cost of recommendation 3 is £46.8m per year. This includes the cost required to apply the uplift to non-operational prison service colleagues paid within the same band. The total annual cost of recommendation 3 alone represents a higher cost than that of the entire proposals made by HMPPS for the 2020/21 pay round, so presented clear challenges to afforadbilty.

Affordability considerations took into account value for money for the taxpayer, as well as competing funding priorities, such as key investments in prison safety and security, leadership and professionalisation, and staff wellbeing which all impact significantly upon staff.

Prior to the decision to reject ‘recommendation 3’, the Ministry of Justice considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale of doing so. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. These issues are continually under review by the department, as fundamental issues in our policy. There are no plans to publish further analysis on recommendation 3.

We are currently finalising the evidence to the Prison Service Pay Review Body for the 2021/22 pay round, in line with the pay policy set out by the Chancellor in November last year. This will be published and submitted to the PSPRB in due course.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Rachel Hopkins

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the oral Answer of the Minister of State on 2 February 2021, Official Report, column 824, what criteria his Department used to measure the (a) affordability and (b) value for money for the taxpayer of the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000, ‘recommendation 3’. This represented a substantial increase for our largest staffing group and was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in the labour market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unpredictable changing state of the economy means that the assumptions made by the PSPRB upon which they based their recommendations have also changed. The decision to reject this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020. Prison officers did however benefit from awards of between 2.5% and 7.5% for the current financial year (2020/21). This delivered an above inflation increase and is the third year in a row that prison staff have benefitted from an award of at least 2%.

The estimated cost of recommendation 3 is £46.8m per year. This includes the cost required to apply the uplift to non-operational prison service colleagues paid within the same band. The total annual cost of recommendation 3 alone represents a higher cost than that of the entire proposals made by HMPPS for the 2020/21 pay round, so presented clear challenges to afforadbilty.

Affordability considerations took into account value for money for the taxpayer, as well as competing funding priorities, such as key investments in prison safety and security, leadership and professionalisation, and staff wellbeing which all impact significantly upon staff.

Prior to the decision to reject ‘recommendation 3’, the Ministry of Justice considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale of doing so. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. These issues are continually under review by the department, as fundamental issues in our policy. There are no plans to publish further analysis on recommendation 3.

We are currently finalising the evidence to the Prison Service Pay Review Body for the 2021/22 pay round, in line with the pay policy set out by the Chancellor in November last year. This will be published and submitted to the PSPRB in due course.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Rachel Hopkins

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral Answer on 2 February 2021, Official Report, column 829, what effect his assessment of the times in which we live has had on the level of his support for the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000, ‘recommendation 3’. This represented a substantial increase for our largest staffing group and was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in the labour market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unpredictable changing state of the economy means that the assumptions made by the PSPRB upon which they based their recommendations have also changed. The decision to reject this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020. Prison officers did however benefit from awards of between 2.5% and 7.5% for the current financial year (2020/21). This delivered an above inflation increase and is the third year in a row that prison staff have benefitted from an award of at least 2%.

The estimated cost of recommendation 3 is £46.8m per year. This includes the cost required to apply the uplift to non-operational prison service colleagues paid within the same band. The total annual cost of recommendation 3 alone represents a higher cost than that of the entire proposals made by HMPPS for the 2020/21 pay round, so presented clear challenges to afforadbilty.

Affordability considerations took into account value for money for the taxpayer, as well as competing funding priorities, such as key investments in prison safety and security, leadership and professionalisation, and staff wellbeing which all impact significantly upon staff.

Prior to the decision to reject ‘recommendation 3’, the Ministry of Justice considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale of doing so. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. These issues are continually under review by the department, as fundamental issues in our policy. There are no plans to publish further analysis on recommendation 3.

We are currently finalising the evidence to the Prison Service Pay Review Body for the 2021/22 pay round, in line with the pay policy set out by the Chancellor in November last year. This will be published and submitted to the PSPRB in due course.


Written Question
Courts and Tribunals: Interpreters
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what safeguards his Department has put in place to ensure that interpreters used in court and tribunal hearings are qualified to undertake the role.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high-quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The MoJ does not directly employ interpreters. We commission the services of suitably qualified interpreters through contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

Detailed guidance and training modules are provided to courts and tribunals staff responsible for booking interpreters through the MoJ’s Language Services to ensure they follow the correct processes and book suitably qualified interpreters.

Interpreters provided by our contracted language service providers are sourced from the MoJ’s register. Only interpreters that meet the department’s contractual requirements are included on the register, which is managed and audited by an independent language service provider.

The MoJ regularly reviews the level of unfulfilled bookings, which may result in the use of interpreters not sourced from the departmental register, to identify trends and to require remedial action to be taken where appropriate. Fulfilment of bookings remains consistent at circa 97%, with the main reason for unfulfillment being short notice bookings of a rare language requirement.

The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. All interpreters are also required to complete a justice system specific training course before they are permitted to join the MoJ’s interpreter register.

The contract sets out the minimum level of qualification and experience a language professional is required to have in order to work on each complexity level of booking. Details of these qualifications can be found at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137

The MoJ’s contracted service provider is required to hold evidence of these credentials, which are subject to an additional safeguard in the form of an annual audit conducted by the department’s contracted provider of independent language service quality assurance, The Language Shop (part of the London Borough of Newham).

The Language Shop make regular and independent assessments of interpreters carrying out assignments via the MoJ’s language services contracts. This includes a check of the qualifications held by the interpreter to ensure they meet the requirements of the contract between the department and the supplier.

Complaints about the quality of interpreting or professional conduct are referred to The Language Shop for independent assessment. Interpreters are suspended from the MoJ register pending the outcome and are not reinstated unless The Language Shop confirms that the requisite standards have been met.

The complaint rate is monitored closely as part of robust contract governance processes. The rate remains low at less than 1%, which suggests there is no systemic issue with the quality of interpreting provided.


Written Question
Courts and Tribunals: Interpreters
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of use of unregistered interpreters in courts and tribunals.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high-quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The MoJ does not directly employ interpreters. We commission the services of suitably qualified interpreters through contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

Detailed guidance and training modules are provided to courts and tribunals staff responsible for booking interpreters through the MoJ’s Language Services to ensure they follow the correct processes and book suitably qualified interpreters.

Interpreters provided by our contracted language service providers are sourced from the MoJ’s register. Only interpreters that meet the department’s contractual requirements are included on the register, which is managed and audited by an independent language service provider.

The MoJ regularly reviews the level of unfulfilled bookings, which may result in the use of interpreters not sourced from the departmental register, to identify trends and to require remedial action to be taken where appropriate. Fulfilment of bookings remains consistent at circa 97%, with the main reason for unfulfillment being short notice bookings of a rare language requirement.

The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. All interpreters are also required to complete a justice system specific training course before they are permitted to join the MoJ’s interpreter register.

The contract sets out the minimum level of qualification and experience a language professional is required to have in order to work on each complexity level of booking. Details of these qualifications can be found at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137

The MoJ’s contracted service provider is required to hold evidence of these credentials, which are subject to an additional safeguard in the form of an annual audit conducted by the department’s contracted provider of independent language service quality assurance, The Language Shop (part of the London Borough of Newham).

The Language Shop make regular and independent assessments of interpreters carrying out assignments via the MoJ’s language services contracts. This includes a check of the qualifications held by the interpreter to ensure they meet the requirements of the contract between the department and the supplier.

Complaints about the quality of interpreting or professional conduct are referred to The Language Shop for independent assessment. Interpreters are suspended from the MoJ register pending the outcome and are not reinstated unless The Language Shop confirms that the requisite standards have been met.

The complaint rate is monitored closely as part of robust contract governance processes. The rate remains low at less than 1%, which suggests there is no systemic issue with the quality of interpreting provided.


Written Question
Courts and Tribunals: Interpreters
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department provides to courts and tribunals on the employment of interpreters.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high-quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The MoJ does not directly employ interpreters. We commission the services of suitably qualified interpreters through contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

Detailed guidance and training modules are provided to courts and tribunals staff responsible for booking interpreters through the MoJ’s Language Services to ensure they follow the correct processes and book suitably qualified interpreters.

Interpreters provided by our contracted language service providers are sourced from the MoJ’s register. Only interpreters that meet the department’s contractual requirements are included on the register, which is managed and audited by an independent language service provider.

The MoJ regularly reviews the level of unfulfilled bookings, which may result in the use of interpreters not sourced from the departmental register, to identify trends and to require remedial action to be taken where appropriate. Fulfilment of bookings remains consistent at circa 97%, with the main reason for unfulfillment being short notice bookings of a rare language requirement.

The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. All interpreters are also required to complete a justice system specific training course before they are permitted to join the MoJ’s interpreter register.

The contract sets out the minimum level of qualification and experience a language professional is required to have in order to work on each complexity level of booking. Details of these qualifications can be found at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137

The MoJ’s contracted service provider is required to hold evidence of these credentials, which are subject to an additional safeguard in the form of an annual audit conducted by the department’s contracted provider of independent language service quality assurance, The Language Shop (part of the London Borough of Newham).

The Language Shop make regular and independent assessments of interpreters carrying out assignments via the MoJ’s language services contracts. This includes a check of the qualifications held by the interpreter to ensure they meet the requirements of the contract between the department and the supplier.

Complaints about the quality of interpreting or professional conduct are referred to The Language Shop for independent assessment. Interpreters are suspended from the MoJ register pending the outcome and are not reinstated unless The Language Shop confirms that the requisite standards have been met.

The complaint rate is monitored closely as part of robust contract governance processes. The rate remains low at less than 1%, which suggests there is no systemic issue with the quality of interpreting provided.


Written Question
HM Courts and Tribunals Service: Coronavirus
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Baroness Doocey

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much additional funding has been allocated to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; how any such additional funding has been allocated between (1) criminal court services, (2) civil court services, and (3) tribunal services;  and how much of any such funding has been spent in each such area so far.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

HM Courts and Tribunals Service has received an additional £150m funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic recovery funding covers the provision of additional PPE equipment and cleaning across the HMCTS estate; the provision of additional staffing and judicial resources; the provision of safety and security works; the provision of technology to enable remote hearings, and the provision of additional courtrooms, often referred to as ‘Nightingale Courts’.

Where possible, HMCTS has utilised existing baseline budgets to cover COVID-19 requirements. However, the main challenge throughout the pandemic has been the ability to operate the criminal courts, especially the safe and secure operation of Jury trials in a socially distanced environment, resulting in higher levels of expenditure, as outlined within the table below.

Jurisdiction – Full Year Allocation

£000’s

Criminal court services

72,365

Civil and Family court services

36,795

Tribunals

14,803

*Multi-jurisdiction & corporate Expenditure

26,037

Total

150,000

The latest reported spend to date as at 31 January 2021, by business area, is set out below.

Jurisdiction – Expenditure as at 31 January 2021

£000’s

Criminal court services

32,018

Civil and Family court services

19,486

Tribunals

6,275

*Multi-Jurisdiction & Corporate expenditure

19,036

Total

76,815

Continued high levels of COVID-19 response and recovery activity remains in place to enable HMCTS to actively respond to the challenges of delivering a safe and effective service during these challenging times.

These efforts will be bolstered by the £110m being invested into a range of measures to boost court recovery and the £337m Spending Review settlement to deliver speedier justice to convict offenders, support victims, and protect the wider public.

*Multi-jurisdiction & corporate expenditure includes services delivered on a national basis covering several business areas, for which a single jurisdiction is not identifiable within the financial system; examples include additional PPE, some IT costs and telephone conferencing expenditure.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many appellants are waiting for the Tribunals Service to list their First Tier Tribunal Social Security and Child Support appeal in relation to personal independence payment in (a) Coventry, (b) West Midlands and (c) England.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The latest period for which data about the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) are available is January to March 2020. The most recent tribunal statistics publications covering the period April to September 2020 do not include SSCS data due to issues identified as the tribunal was being migrated to a new operational system. The data will be made available as soon as this is resolved and the data quality assured.

(1) Information about clearance times for appeals to SSCS is published at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

Waiting times are calculated from receipt of an appeal to its final disposal. An appeal is not necessarily disposed of at its first hearing. The final disposal decision on the appeal may be reached after an earlier hearing had been adjourned (which may be directed by the judge for a variety of reasons, such as to seek further evidence), or after an earlier hearing date had been postponed (again, for a variety of reasons, often at the request of the appellant). An appeal may also have been decided at an earlier date by the First-tier Tribunal, only for the case to have gone on to the Upper Tribunal, to be returned once again to the First-tier, for its final disposal.

Throughout the pandemic, appeals have continued to be decided on the papers, or heard using telephone and other remote technology. Additionally, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has introduced safety measures so that face to face hearings can be held for any cases which cannot be decided on the papers or heard remotely. The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge, who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice.

(2) As at March 2020, there were a total of 440 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 1 appeals waiting to be listed in the Coventry venue; 2,466 in the West Midlands2; and 21,005 in England3.

SSCS data are usually registered to the venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. We cannot retrieve data based on the appellant’s actual address but can produce reports detailing the number of cases dealt with at one of our Regional centres or heard at a specific venue.

1. PIP (New Claim Appeals) which replaces Disability Living Allowance was introduced on 8 April 2013, also includes PIP Claims (Reassessments)

2. West Midlands includes the venues: Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Coventry, Nuneaton, Stoke, Shrewsbury, Hereford and Worcester.

3. Data exclude SSCS Scotland Region and Wales Region.


Written Question
Residential Women's Centres
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Kerry McCarthy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Questions 151640, 151641, 151642, 151643 and 152427 on Residential Women's Centres (RWC), whether it is his policy that RWCs will be for women sentenced to a community sentence with time in a RWC as an additional requirement or for women being resettled after a prison sentence.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The residential women’s centre (RWC) will be for women sentenced to a community order or suspended sentence order with a residence requirement to reside at the RWC.

The RWC will provide holistic support for women to address the underlying causes of their offending and will enable us to develop an evidence base about what could be effective, sustainable and scalable models.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Paul Maynard

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to reply to the letter of 13 November 2020 from the hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys on prison conditions.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

A response was sent to the hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys on 10 December 2020. A further copy has been sent.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Conor McGinn

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent discussions he has had with recognised trade unions on the effect on prison officer morale of his Department’s decision not to implement Recommendation 3 as outlined in the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s Nineteenth Report on England and Wales 2020.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

I am grateful to recognised trade unions for continued engagement and collaboration on issues relevant to the prison workforce. It is vital, particularly in the current circumstances, that we continue to work together.

In addition to ongoing engagement between my officials and the recognised trade unions on prison pay, the Lord Chancellor met with our colleagues at the Prison Officers Association on 28th January to discuss the 2020-21 pay award. Staff morale - amongst other relevant matters such as government affordability, adequate investment into safety and security, professionalisation and leadership, and staff wellbeing - has of course been fundamental to those discussions throughout.

I recognise the decision to reject ‘recommendation 3’ will have been disappointing for our staff, however the decision taken is not a comment on the value of staff and their hard work.

I welcome engagement from recognised trade unions with the Prison Service Pay Review Body to best inform recommendations for prison pay going forward.


Written Question
Courts: Attendance
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Peter Kyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many failure to appear warrants have been issued for (a) murder, (b) rape and (c) serious sexual assault offences since March 2020.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Data showing the number of failure to appear warrants issued for (a) murder, (b) rape and (c) all sexual offences excluding rape since March 2020 until 30 September 2020 in both Crown and Magistrates’ Courts can be found in the table below:

Offence Category

Crown Court

Magistrates’ Court

Murder

9

17

Rape

14

61

All Sexual Offences (excl Rape)

109

28

Source: HMCTS management information

Notes:

  1. Data are taken from a live management information system and can change over time.
  2. The data is based on statistics from management information system extract only.
  3. Data are management information and may differ from previously published stats and are not subject to the same level of checks as official statistics.
  4. Magistrates where a defendant is charged with an indictable offence and if more than one offence and a Failure to Appear Warrant is issued each offence is counted separately.
  5. Crown if a defendant has had a bench warrant issued on more than one occasion, they have been counted separately.
  6. Offences include attempted and conspiracy sub-groups.
  7. Data has not been cross referenced with case files.
  8. Serious sexual assault isn’t a specific offence category; therefore, no statistics are available. However, we have collated data available for all sexual offences excluding rape.

Written Question
Youth Offending Teams: Termination of employment
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Peter Kyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many employees of youth offending teams have left the profession in each of the last five years (a) nationally, and (b) by region.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Ministry of Justice and the Youth Justice Board do not hold data on how many employees of youth offending teams have left the profession in the last five years.

The annual youth justice statistics include national totals for the youth offending team workforce. However, the data does not show if individuals have left the profession or have moved elsewhere in the profession. The most recent staffing data is published in Annex E in the additional annexes at Youth Justice Statistics: 2019 to 2020.


Written Question
Courts: Coronavirus
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases of covid-19 have been confirmed among the (a) staff, (b) judiciary and (c) users of each court from 26 January 2021 to the most recent day for which that information is available.

Answer (Chris Philp)

We follow all Public Health and Government COVID-secure guidelines and have put measures in place to keep all court and tribunal users safe. When Government or Public Health guidance changes our measures are updated, an approach which is endorsed by Public Health England and Public Health Wales.

The table below sets out the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to HMCTS among (a) staff, (b) judiciary, (c) jurors and (d) users between 26 January 2021 and 19 February 2021. Due to the time taken for individuals to take a test, receive test results, and then communicate this to HMCTS (which is then recorded against the date initially reported) further cases may be added after the time of publishing. The table only includes court locations within the HMCTS estate where we have learnt about a new positive case within the dates given above. All other court sites have not reported any new cases between these dates. There should be no assumption that a positive case indicates that there has been transmission within a court building.

HMCTS employs around 19,800 staff (payroll and non-payroll). There are around 19,400 judicial office holders covering all jurisdictions, including coroners and magistrates. The population of jurors fluctuates each week, but we estimate around 4,000 jurors attend weekly.

For staff and agency staff in HMCTS as a whole (including tribunals), positive test rates are falling in line with national numbers. The incident rate amongst staff is trending around the national average.

Comparability with national statistics will be affected by our staff locations (staff are not evenly distributed across the country) and when the numbers are changing rapidly the difference between incident date (our figures) and date of positive test (national figures) becomes relevant. However, overall, the trend is not dissimilar to national averages time.

Note that courts without any confirmed positive cases in the time period are not listed.

Court locations

Staff

Judges

Jurors

Court and tribunal user

AMERSHAM LAW COURTS

1

BIRMINGHAM CIVIL AND FAMILY JUSTICE CENTRE

2

1

BIRMINGHAM CROWN COURT

1

BIRMINGHAM MAGISTRATES COURT

1

BOLTON COMBINED COURT

1

BRADFORD COMBINED COURT

1

1

1

BRENTFORD COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

BROMLEY COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

8

BROMLEY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CAMBRIDGE CROWN COURT

2

CANTERBURY COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

CARDIFF MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CENTRAL FAMILY COURT (First Avenue House)

4

CHELMSFORD COUNTY AND FAMILY COURT

1

COVENTRY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CRAWLEY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CROYDON CROWN, COUNTY COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

DERBY COMBINED COURT CENTRE

2

DUDLEY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

DURHAM JUSTICE CENTRE

1

FOLKESTONE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

GREAT GRIMSBY COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

GUILDFORD MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

HARROW CROWN COURT

2

HENDON MAGISTRATES COURT

1

HIGHBURY CORNER MAGISTRATES

2

HOVE TRIAL CENTRE

1

HULL MAGISTRATES COURT

1

INNER LONDON CROWN COURT

1

IPSWICH MAGISTRATES COURT

1

ISLEWORTH CROWN COURT

1

KIDDERMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT

1

KINGSTON UPON THAMES CROWN COURT

1

KIRKLEES (HUDDERSFIELD) MAGISTRATE COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

LEEDS CIVIL HEARING CENTRE

1

LEEDS COMBINED COURT CENTRE

4

LEEDS MAGISTRATES COURT & FAMILY COURT

3

LEICESTER MAGISTRATES COURT

2

LINCOLN COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

LINCOLN CROWN COURT

1

LIVERPOOL CIVIL AND FAMILY COURT

3

1

LIVERPOOL CROWN COURT

2

LOUGHBOROUGH MAGISTRATES COURT

1

LUTON AND SOUTH BEDFORDSHIRE MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

2

LUTON CROWN COURT

1

2

LUTON JUSTICE CENTRE

3

2

MANCHESTER COUNTY & FAMILY COURT

2

MANCHESTER CROWN COURT (CROWN SQUARE)

1

MANCHESTER CROWN COURT (MINSHULL STREET)

1

MANCHESTER MAGISTRATES COURT

2

1

1

MEDWAY MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

1

MERTHYR TYDFIL COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

MID & SOUTH EAST NORTHUMBERLAND LAW COURT

1

NEWCASTLE CIVIL & FAMILY COURTS & TRIBUNALS CENTRE

1

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

2

NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE JUSTICE CENTRE

1

NORTH TYNESIDE MAGISTRATES COURT

5

NORTHAMPTON CROWN COURT, COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

2

NOTTINGHAM COUNTY COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

1

NOTTINGHAM MAGISTRATES COURT

1

OXFORD COMBINED COURT CENTRE

2

PETERBOROUGH COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

PETERBOROUGH MAGISTRATES COURT

1

1

POOLE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

1

PORTSMOUTH COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

PRESTON COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

PRESTON CROWN COURT

2

READING CROWN COURT

2

READING MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

ROLLS BUILDING

2

1

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE - East Block

2

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE – MAIN BUILDING

1

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE – THOMAS MOORE BUILDING

2

SCARBOROUGH JUSTICE CENTRE

1

SHEFFIELD MAGISTRATES COURT

1

1

SHREWSBURY JUSTICE CENTRE

1

SNARESBROOK CROWN COURT

1

1

SOUTH TYNESIDE MAGISTRATES COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

SOUTHAMPTOM COMBINED COURT CENTRE

2

STAFFORD COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

STAINES MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

2

STOKE-ON-TRENT COMBINED COURT

1

1

SWANSEA CROWN COURT

1

SWANSEA MAGISTRATES COURT

1

TEESSIDE COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

TEESIDE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

THAMES MAGISTRATES COURT

1

UXBRIDGE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

5

WALSALL COUNTY & FAMILY COURT

1

WARWICKSHIRE JUSTICE CENTRE (SOUTH)

1

WESTMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT

1

WILLESDEN MAGISTRATES COURT

1

WIMBLEDON MAGISTRATES COURT

2

WOOLWICH CROWN COURT

1

YORK MAGISTRATES & FAMILY COURT

1


Written Question
Young Offenders: Care Leavers
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Peter Kyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of children cautioned or sentenced in each of the last five calendar years had previously been resident in unregulated care settings.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

We do not hold information on the number of children sentenced or cautioned who have previously been in unregulated care settings. We published experimental statistics in January 2021 setting out the assessed care status of children who receive a custodial sentence, Youth Rehabilitation Order, Referral Order or Reparation Order. These statistics can be found on the page https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/youth-justice-statistics-2019-to-2020 under ‘Assessing the needs of sentenced children in the Youth Justice System: Supplementary Tables’.


Written Question
Juries: Coronavirus
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases of covid-19 have been confirmed among jurors, by court, since 26 January 2021.

Answer (Chris Philp)

We follow all Public Health and Government COVID-secure guidelines and have put measures in place to keep all court and tribunal users safe. When Government or Public Health guidance changes our measures are updated, an approach which is endorsed by Public Health England and Public Health Wales.

The table below sets out the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to HMCTS among (a) staff, (b) judiciary, (c) jurors and (d) users between 26 January 2021 and 19 February 2021. Due to the time taken for individuals to take a test, receive test results, and then communicate this to HMCTS (which is then recorded against the date initially reported) further cases may be added after the time of publishing. The table only includes court locations within the HMCTS estate where we have learnt about a new positive case within the dates given above. All other court sites have not reported any new cases between these dates. There should be no assumption that a positive case indicates that there has been transmission within a court building.

HMCTS employs around 19,800 staff (payroll and non-payroll). There are around 19,400 judicial office holders covering all jurisdictions, including coroners and magistrates. The population of jurors fluctuates each week, but we estimate around 4,000 jurors attend weekly.

For staff and agency staff in HMCTS as a whole (including tribunals), positive test rates are falling in line with national numbers. The incident rate amongst staff is trending around the national average.

Comparability with national statistics will be affected by our staff locations (staff are not evenly distributed across the country) and when the numbers are changing rapidly the difference between incident date (our figures) and date of positive test (national figures) becomes relevant. However, overall, the trend is not dissimilar to national averages time.

Note that courts without any confirmed positive cases in the time period are not listed.

Court locations

Staff

Judges

Jurors

Court and tribunal user

AMERSHAM LAW COURTS

1

BIRMINGHAM CIVIL AND FAMILY JUSTICE CENTRE

2

1

BIRMINGHAM CROWN COURT

1

BIRMINGHAM MAGISTRATES COURT

1

BOLTON COMBINED COURT

1

BRADFORD COMBINED COURT

1

1

1

BRENTFORD COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

BROMLEY COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

8

BROMLEY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CAMBRIDGE CROWN COURT

2

CANTERBURY COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

CARDIFF MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CENTRAL FAMILY COURT (First Avenue House)

4

CHELMSFORD COUNTY AND FAMILY COURT

1

COVENTRY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CRAWLEY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

CROYDON CROWN, COUNTY COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

DERBY COMBINED COURT CENTRE

2

DUDLEY MAGISTRATES COURT

1

DURHAM JUSTICE CENTRE

1

FOLKESTONE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

GREAT GRIMSBY COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

GUILDFORD MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

HARROW CROWN COURT

2

HENDON MAGISTRATES COURT

1

HIGHBURY CORNER MAGISTRATES

2

HOVE TRIAL CENTRE

1

HULL MAGISTRATES COURT

1

INNER LONDON CROWN COURT

1

IPSWICH MAGISTRATES COURT

1

ISLEWORTH CROWN COURT

1

KIDDERMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT

1

KINGSTON UPON THAMES CROWN COURT

1

KIRKLEES (HUDDERSFIELD) MAGISTRATE COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

LEEDS CIVIL HEARING CENTRE

1

LEEDS COMBINED COURT CENTRE

4

LEEDS MAGISTRATES COURT & FAMILY COURT

3

LEICESTER MAGISTRATES COURT

2

LINCOLN COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

LINCOLN CROWN COURT

1

LIVERPOOL CIVIL AND FAMILY COURT

3

1

LIVERPOOL CROWN COURT

2

LOUGHBOROUGH MAGISTRATES COURT

1

LUTON AND SOUTH BEDFORDSHIRE MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

2

LUTON CROWN COURT

1

2

LUTON JUSTICE CENTRE

3

2

MANCHESTER COUNTY & FAMILY COURT

2

MANCHESTER CROWN COURT (CROWN SQUARE)

1

MANCHESTER CROWN COURT (MINSHULL STREET)

1

MANCHESTER MAGISTRATES COURT

2

1

1

MEDWAY MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

1

MERTHYR TYDFIL COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

MID & SOUTH EAST NORTHUMBERLAND LAW COURT

1

NEWCASTLE CIVIL & FAMILY COURTS & TRIBUNALS CENTRE

1

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

2

NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE JUSTICE CENTRE

1

NORTH TYNESIDE MAGISTRATES COURT

5

NORTHAMPTON CROWN COURT, COUNTY COURT & FAMILY COURT

2

NOTTINGHAM COUNTY COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

1

NOTTINGHAM MAGISTRATES COURT

1

OXFORD COMBINED COURT CENTRE

2

PETERBOROUGH COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

PETERBOROUGH MAGISTRATES COURT

1

1

POOLE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

1

PORTSMOUTH COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

PRESTON COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

PRESTON CROWN COURT

2

READING CROWN COURT

2

READING MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

1

ROLLS BUILDING

2

1

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE - East Block

2

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE – MAIN BUILDING

1

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE – THOMAS MOORE BUILDING

2

SCARBOROUGH JUSTICE CENTRE

1

SHEFFIELD MAGISTRATES COURT

1

1

SHREWSBURY JUSTICE CENTRE

1

SNARESBROOK CROWN COURT

1

1

SOUTH TYNESIDE MAGISTRATES COURT & FAMILY COURT

1

SOUTHAMPTOM COMBINED COURT CENTRE

2

STAFFORD COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

STAINES MAGISTRATES COURT AND FAMILY COURT

2

STOKE-ON-TRENT COMBINED COURT

1

1

SWANSEA CROWN COURT

1

SWANSEA MAGISTRATES COURT

1

TEESSIDE COMBINED COURT CENTRE

1

TEESIDE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

THAMES MAGISTRATES COURT

1

UXBRIDGE MAGISTRATES COURT

1

5

WALSALL COUNTY & FAMILY COURT

1

WARWICKSHIRE JUSTICE CENTRE (SOUTH)

1

WESTMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT

1

WILLESDEN MAGISTRATES COURT

1

WIMBLEDON MAGISTRATES COURT

2

WOOLWICH CROWN COURT

1

YORK MAGISTRATES & FAMILY COURT

1


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Grahame Morris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has received (a) advice and (b) guidance on what constitutes exceptional circumstances for the purpose of considering recommendations by the Prison Service Pay Review Body; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation, recommendation 3, to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000. This recommendation was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision regarding this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020 (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-12-10/hcws638).

Ahead of the decision regarding this recommendation, extensive work was undertaken by the Ministry of Justice together with HM Treasury to understand the costs and impacts of it. This included considering whether any workforce reforms could be delivered alongside the recommendation which would create efficiencies and savings, and therefore deliver value for money by offsetting some of the cost of the recommendation. This was undertaken with a view to possible discussions with recognised trade unions, should an option for affordable delivery of the recommendation, which could offer value for money for taxpayers be identified. The conclusion was that sufficient savings required to offer value for money could not be achieved, meaning the recommendation remained unaffordable.

The Ministry of Justice also considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale, which in turn have an effect on prison safety and security. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. Furthermore, there are significant investments being made into prison safety and security, and financial pressures from elsewhere impact our ability to deliver these.

An Equalities Impact Assessment was conducted and considered in reaching the decision to reject recommendation 3. This considered the demographics of staff and how the decision to reject the recommendation would interact with eliminating unlawful discrimination and advancing quality of opportunity.

The Secretary of State’s policy is that PSPRB recommendations will only be departed from “in exceptional circumstances, one of which would be on the grounds of affordability”. Furthermore, all appropriate advice was taken by the Secretary of State for Justice as to the relevant facts and tests relevant to the decision on recommendation 3.

The decision of 10 December 2020 to ultimately reject recommendation 3 was taken by the Secretary of State. It was not subject to the Cabinet committee write round procedure but was, as is consistent with usual practice with respect to public sector pay awards, preceded by HM Treasury input.

The Department remains committed to working with the review body, within the boundaries of the pay restraint policy as set out by the Chancellor for the 2021/22 pay round, which includes targeted awards for those earning less than £24k per annum. We will also continue to work closely with recognised trade unions.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Grahame Morris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the decision to reject the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation, recommendation 3, to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000. This recommendation was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision regarding this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020 (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-12-10/hcws638).

Ahead of the decision regarding this recommendation, extensive work was undertaken by the Ministry of Justice together with HM Treasury to understand the costs and impacts of it. This included considering whether any workforce reforms could be delivered alongside the recommendation which would create efficiencies and savings, and therefore deliver value for money by offsetting some of the cost of the recommendation. This was undertaken with a view to possible discussions with recognised trade unions, should an option for affordable delivery of the recommendation, which could offer value for money for taxpayers be identified. The conclusion was that sufficient savings required to offer value for money could not be achieved, meaning the recommendation remained unaffordable.

The Ministry of Justice also considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale, which in turn have an effect on prison safety and security. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. Furthermore, there are significant investments being made into prison safety and security, and financial pressures from elsewhere impact our ability to deliver these.

An Equalities Impact Assessment was conducted and considered in reaching the decision to reject recommendation 3. This considered the demographics of staff and how the decision to reject the recommendation would interact with eliminating unlawful discrimination and advancing quality of opportunity.

The Secretary of State’s policy is that PSPRB recommendations will only be departed from “in exceptional circumstances, one of which would be on the grounds of affordability”. Furthermore, all appropriate advice was taken by the Secretary of State for Justice as to the relevant facts and tests relevant to the decision on recommendation 3.

The decision of 10 December 2020 to ultimately reject recommendation 3 was taken by the Secretary of State. It was not subject to the Cabinet committee write round procedure but was, as is consistent with usual practice with respect to public sector pay awards, preceded by HM Treasury input.

The Department remains committed to working with the review body, within the boundaries of the pay restraint policy as set out by the Chancellor for the 2021/22 pay round, which includes targeted awards for those earning less than £24k per annum. We will also continue to work closely with recognised trade unions.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Grahame Morris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what financial analysis his Department undertook prior to the decision to reject the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation, recommendation 3, to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000. This recommendation was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision regarding this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020 (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-12-10/hcws638).

Ahead of the decision regarding this recommendation, extensive work was undertaken by the Ministry of Justice together with HM Treasury to understand the costs and impacts of it. This included considering whether any workforce reforms could be delivered alongside the recommendation which would create efficiencies and savings, and therefore deliver value for money by offsetting some of the cost of the recommendation. This was undertaken with a view to possible discussions with recognised trade unions, should an option for affordable delivery of the recommendation, which could offer value for money for taxpayers be identified. The conclusion was that sufficient savings required to offer value for money could not be achieved, meaning the recommendation remained unaffordable.

The Ministry of Justice also considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale, which in turn have an effect on prison safety and security. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. Furthermore, there are significant investments being made into prison safety and security, and financial pressures from elsewhere impact our ability to deliver these.

An Equalities Impact Assessment was conducted and considered in reaching the decision to reject recommendation 3. This considered the demographics of staff and how the decision to reject the recommendation would interact with eliminating unlawful discrimination and advancing quality of opportunity.

The Secretary of State’s policy is that PSPRB recommendations will only be departed from “in exceptional circumstances, one of which would be on the grounds of affordability”. Furthermore, all appropriate advice was taken by the Secretary of State for Justice as to the relevant facts and tests relevant to the decision on recommendation 3.

The decision of 10 December 2020 to ultimately reject recommendation 3 was taken by the Secretary of State. It was not subject to the Cabinet committee write round procedure but was, as is consistent with usual practice with respect to public sector pay awards, preceded by HM Treasury input.

The Department remains committed to working with the review body, within the boundaries of the pay restraint policy as set out by the Chancellor for the 2021/22 pay round, which includes targeted awards for those earning less than £24k per annum. We will also continue to work closely with recognised trade unions.


Written Question
Prisons: Visits
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Baroness Altmann

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken in the last 12 months to maintain visiting rights for prisoners while there have been restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic; how many visits were permitted for each category of prisoner each month; what estimate they have made of the percentage of all prisoners who have received visitors since March 2020; and whether all prison visitors are required to produce a negative COVID-19 test.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

In response to COVID-19, the MoJ/HMPPS took decisive action to protect staff and prisoners. These changes are set out in ‘COVID-19: National Framework for Prison Regimes and Services’, available attached and here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-national-framework-for-prison-regimes-and-services. In line with this framework and public health advice, at different times during the pandemic social face-to-face visits in the adult estate have had to be temporarily suspended (other than on exceptional compassionate grounds which need to be agreed in advance with the prison). Visits to children in the Youth Custody Estate (YCS) have continued. Official/ legal visits have continued, conducted remotely where possible.

Social visits during the pandemic have taken place in line with the National Framework and a regime Exception Delivery Model with additional measures put in place to ensure that they can do so in a COVID-19 secure manner. These have had to include restricting the numbers of visits, length of visits and numbers of visitors in each session. We do not require evidence of a negative test as a pre-cursor to visiting. Decisions as to how visits operate at each establishment within this framework are determined through locally led assessments informed by Public Health advice. Information on how visits operate is set out on each establishment’s information page on GOV.UK, available here; https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prisons-in-england-and-wales, and communicated to those wishing to visit as part of the local booking arrangements. In line with the National Framework, arrangements for social visits remain under constant review in light of public health guidance.

Data on the numbers of visits is not collated and held nationally. This information cannot therefore be provided without disproportionate cost.

As part of a wider package of measures to enable those in prison and the YCS to maintain contact with families and significant others throughout the pandemic, we also introduced circa 1,500 additional mobile PIN phones, have provided additional PIN credit and have introduced an emergency secure Video Calling service which to date has supported over 100,000 calls.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Grahame Morris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on prison safety of the decision to reject the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation, recommendation 3, to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000. This recommendation was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision regarding this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020 (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-12-10/hcws638).

Ahead of the decision regarding this recommendation, extensive work was undertaken by the Ministry of Justice together with HM Treasury to understand the costs and impacts of it. This included considering whether any workforce reforms could be delivered alongside the recommendation which would create efficiencies and savings, and therefore deliver value for money by offsetting some of the cost of the recommendation. This was undertaken with a view to possible discussions with recognised trade unions, should an option for affordable delivery of the recommendation, which could offer value for money for taxpayers be identified. The conclusion was that sufficient savings required to offer value for money could not be achieved, meaning the recommendation remained unaffordable.

The Ministry of Justice also considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale, which in turn have an effect on prison safety and security. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. Furthermore, there are significant investments being made into prison safety and security, and financial pressures from elsewhere impact our ability to deliver these.

An Equalities Impact Assessment was conducted and considered in reaching the decision to reject recommendation 3. This considered the demographics of staff and how the decision to reject the recommendation would interact with eliminating unlawful discrimination and advancing quality of opportunity.

The Secretary of State’s policy is that PSPRB recommendations will only be departed from “in exceptional circumstances, one of which would be on the grounds of affordability”. Furthermore, all appropriate advice was taken by the Secretary of State for Justice as to the relevant facts and tests relevant to the decision on recommendation 3.

The decision of 10 December 2020 to ultimately reject recommendation 3 was taken by the Secretary of State. It was not subject to the Cabinet committee write round procedure but was, as is consistent with usual practice with respect to public sector pay awards, preceded by HM Treasury input.

The Department remains committed to working with the review body, within the boundaries of the pay restraint policy as set out by the Chancellor for the 2021/22 pay round, which includes targeted awards for those earning less than £24k per annum. We will also continue to work closely with recognised trade unions.


Written Question
Prison Officers: Pay
24 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Grahame Morris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what equality impact assessment his Department has undertaken on the decision to reject the Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation 3.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The 20/21 PSPRB report was received on 5 June 2020 and included a recommendation, recommendation 3, to uplift the pay of Band 3 prison staff on modernised terms and conditions by £3,000. This recommendation was ultimately not accepted by the government, on the basis of the exceptional costs associated with implementing the recommendation, the impact on the overall prison service pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision regarding this recommendation was announced on 10 December 2020 (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-12-10/hcws638).

Ahead of the decision regarding this recommendation, extensive work was undertaken by the Ministry of Justice together with HM Treasury to understand the costs and impacts of it. This included considering whether any workforce reforms could be delivered alongside the recommendation which would create efficiencies and savings, and therefore deliver value for money by offsetting some of the cost of the recommendation. This was undertaken with a view to possible discussions with recognised trade unions, should an option for affordable delivery of the recommendation, which could offer value for money for taxpayers be identified. The conclusion was that sufficient savings required to offer value for money could not be achieved, meaning the recommendation remained unaffordable.

The Ministry of Justice also considered the possible impacts on recruitment, retention and morale, which in turn have an effect on prison safety and security. However, recruitment, retention and staff morale levels are all driven by a range of factors and an increase in pay alone cannot be assumed to be a fix for these issues. Furthermore, there are significant investments being made into prison safety and security, and financial pressures from elsewhere impact our ability to deliver these.

An Equalities Impact Assessment was conducted and considered in reaching the decision to reject recommendation 3. This considered the demographics of staff and how the decision to reject the recommendation would interact with eliminating unlawful discrimination and advancing quality of opportunity.

The Secretary of State’s policy is that PSPRB recommendations will only be departed from “in exceptional circumstances, one of which would be on the grounds of affordability”. Furthermore, all appropriate advice was taken by the Secretary of State for Justice as to the relevant facts and tests relevant to the decision on recommendation 3.

The decision of 10 December 2020 to ultimately reject recommendation 3 was taken by the Secretary of State. It was not subject to the Cabinet committee write round procedure but was, as is consistent with usual practice with respect to public sector pay awards, preceded by HM Treasury input.

The Department remains committed to working with the review body, within the boundaries of the pay restraint policy as set out by the Chancellor for the 2021/22 pay round, which includes targeted awards for those earning less than £24k per annum. We will also continue to work closely with recognised trade unions.