§ Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many probation areas in England and Wales operate bail information schemes; in how many cases by probation area information on bail was provided to the courts in the last year that figures are available; in how many of these cases the court ordered conditional bail; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Hilary Benn
[holding answer 2 July 2002]36 areas operated bail information schemes in 2001–02, covering some 60 per cent. of magistrates courts in England and Wales. In some areas schemes will have been focused in particular courts rather than delivered as an area-wide service.
The list of numbers of bail information reports prepared by each area in 2001 is in the table. Bail information reports are only one of the reports available to the court to assist in reaching a decision on whether to order conditional bail in any case and no statistics are collected for the number of such cases.
The National Probation Directorate is currently reviewing the coverage of bail information schemes to identify the scope for increasing the number of magistrates courts covered by such a scheme and developing performance measures to monitor and improve the quality of the information provided in reports.
Number of bail information reports prepared by the Probation Service during 2001 Number Avon 1 Cambridgeshire 2 Cheshire 1,014 Teesside 111 Cornwall 9 Cumbria 131 Derbyshire 40 Devon 91 Dorset 302 Durham 6 Essex 3 West Mercia 338 Hertfordshire 28 Humberside 634 Kent 181 Lancashire 198 Leicestershire 139 Lincolnshire 37 Greater Manchester 715 Merseyside 306 Norfolk 18 Northumbria 101 Thames Valley 401 Somerset 15 Staffordshire 346 Suffolk 76 Surrey 228 West Sussex 140 Warwickshire 230 West Midlands 1,302 Wiltshire 62 South Yorkshire 403 West Yorkshire 1,991
Number of bail information reports prepared by the Probation Service during 2001 Number Dyfed/Powys 191 West Glamorgan 9 Middlesex 71 England and Wales 9,870