HC Deb 24 July 1998 vol 316 cc727-8W
Mr. Ian Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans his Department has to correspond electronically with(a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public. [49824]

Mr. Dewar

[holding answer 13 July 1998]: The Scottish Office expects to participate over the summer recess, along with a number of other Departments, in the testing of a system for replying electronically to Written Parliamentary Questions which will make use of the Government Secure Intranet (GSI). The Scottish Office has been connected to the GSI since June of this year. In addition, contact points for electronic mail are given on The Scottish Office's Internet Web site, www.scotland.gov.uk. The use of electronic mail by The Scottish Office to correspond with external organisations and members of the public who have access to electronic mail services is growing and is expected to increase further as more correspondents gain access to electronic mail services.

Average daily number of prisoners (including young offenders) Number of Suicides Ratio of the number of suicides to prisoners
Year April-March Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
1994–95 5,449 181 5,630 16 16 1:340 1:351
1995–96 5,458 174 5,632 5 3 8 1:1092 1:58 1:704
1996–97 5,803 189 5,992 14 3 17 1:415 1:63 1:352
1997–98 5,873 186 6,059 12 1 13 1:489 1:186 1:466

Consultation between my officials in the Scottish Prison Service and Home Office officials have taken place and the Task Force which has been set up to consider the circumstances surrounding recent deaths include a member from the Suicide Awareness Support Unit in HM Prison Service for England and Wales.

Sir Robert Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what procedures are in place which allow families of inmates to alert prison authorities to a risk of suicide; and if he will make a statement. [51661]

Mr. McLeish

If the family of a prisoner has reason to believe that a relative in prison is at risk, they can let

Mr. Donohoe

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many letters per day his office receives; how many staff are employed to answer these; what targets are set in respect of such letters; and what is the current performance against targets. [50691]

Mr. Dewar

[holding answer 22 July 1998]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service on 20 July 1998, Official Report, column 363. Correspondence is handled by staff in my Department as part of their normal duties.

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