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Probation Service

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received concerning (a) workloads and (b) resources in the Probation Service. [94486]

Hilary Benn: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, through the National Probation Directorate, has received representations as follows:

(a) In respect of workloads, representations were made by the Trade Unions and staff representative bodies which led in January 2001 to a Joint Agreement on Priorities and Employee Care between the Home

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Office, probation employers, Trade Unions and staff representative bodies. This agreement identified the areas for concern raised by all signatories and a joint framework for improvement. The National Probation Directorate is leading the project to design and implement a Workload Measurement Tool, and has provided a Workload Prioritisation Framework.

The National Association of Probation Officers is undertaking a campaign in respect of workloads which has led to a formal dispute. Local agreements to settle this dispute have now been reached in 34 of the 42 areas of the National Probation Service for England and Wales, and negotiations continue in the remaining eight areas.

(b) In respect of resources, 16 Probation Boards have expressed views about their budget for 2003–04.

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the (a) pay and (b) career development rewards available to probation officers for personal success in reducing re-offending by offenders assigned to them; and what plans he has to change them. [94492]

Hilary Benn: Probation officers are paid on a range in accordance with a nationally negotiated salary spine as part of the national agreement on pay and conditions of service.

(a) The current salary spine for probation officers is from a minimum of £19,443 to a maximum of £26,226.

(b) Probation officers are eligible for merit increases when they reach the maximum of the pay spine with a current maximum of £28,686.

The National Probation Directorate, in conjunction with the Probation Boards Association and the trade unions representing staff in the National Probation Service (NPS), is currently reviewing the structure of pay and reward for staff in NPS, including probation officers. The objective of this re-evaluation of the current system is to see that the NPS has an appropriate pay and reward strategy that properly rewards staff for high performance and ensures the recruitment and retention of a highly skilled and motivated work force.

Restriction and Restraining Orders

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many travel restriction orders have been made by the courts under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001; [91016]

Hilary Benn: Restraining orders for sexual offenders were introduced on 1 June 2001, but none was reported to the Home Office Court Proceedings Database as having been made in the period to 31December 2001.

The orders were introduced alongside a wide range of other measures. We expect the number of orders to increase as the courts become more familiar with the orders and how they can be applied.

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Travel restriction orders were brought into force on 1 April 2002, and statistics for 2002 are not yet available.

Information for 2002 is due for publication in the late autumn of 2003.

Service Delivery Agreement

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department's service delivery agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published. [94120]

Mr. Blunkett: The Home Department's service delivery agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published in the next few days.

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Special Branch

Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to create a national special branch co-ordination unit; [94130]

Mr. Blunkett: We welcome plans being considered by the police service to strengthen special branch along regional lines. Even closer co-operation between neighbouring special branches will build on and improve effective working relationships.

The form that such re-organisation might take-including whether there is a need for a national co-ordinator of special branch-is currently the subject of discussions within the police service, and between my Department and the police service.