HC Deb 19 June 1997 vol 296 cc454-5
31. Mr. Flynn

To ask the Attorney-General what proposals he has to improve the accountability of his Department to Parliament. [2922]

The Attorney-General

I am accountable to Parliament for the work of each of my four Departments; namely, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, the Treasury Solicitor's Department and my own secretariat. The Treasury Solicitor's Department is preparing an annual report and accounts. The Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Government Property Lawyers agency will shortly submit to me their statutory annual reports.

Mr. Flynn

I welcome my right hon. and learned Friend, and fellow countryman, to his new responsibility. Will his accountability, and that of his Department, extend to the publication of local reports? Will he assure me that, where appropriate, those reports will be published in his mother tongue of Welsh?

The Attorney-General

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his characteristically kind remarks. Currently, there are seven CPS branches in Wales, each of which published a bilingual report for the year ended 31 December 1996. As a constituency Member of Parliament, I have the report for the West Glamorgan branch. We propose to continue the system of local reports, and they will be in two languages—something that will give pleasure to my hon. Friend.

Mr. John M. Taylor

Given that we are to have 42 chief Crown prosecutors when there are currently 13, can we expect the CPS to publish prosecution figures on each police force area comparable to the Home Office statistics on recorded crime?

The Attorney-General

The details of what will be in each report will be a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions. I can assure the hon. Gentleman, of whose interest I am aware, that the reports to be published in substance will not be less than what is done now. It is very important that the public in each locality should know what is happening, and that is why we have taken the speedy decision to ensure that there is appointed a Crown prosecutor comparable to, and covering an equivalent-sized area to, a chief constable. The public will know who is the chief constable and who is the Crown prosecutor. I hope that that reassures the hon. Gentleman.