§ Mr. Carmichael
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to improve communication links between the Parole Board of England and Wales and external bodies; what plans he has to enable the Board to have telephone listings independently of the Prison Service; and what plans there are to provide resources to the organisation to enable it to act as an autonomous body 
§ Paul Goggins
The Parole Board for England and Wales is an independent body and is responsible for developing good links with other agencies within the Criminal Justice System.
The Parole Board only very recently informed officials in the sponsoring unit of the difficulties it was experiencing with the telecommunications service, and that its contact numbers are not independently listed from those of the Prison Service. Now that the sponsoring unit is aware of the problem, it will do all it can to assist the Board with this matter.
The Parole Board already has resources available to it, given as grant-in-aid payments, in order that it can carry out its functions competently and in its capacity as an independent body. The grant-in-aid agreed for Board for 2003–04 was £4.76 million compared with £3.73 million for 2002–03, which represents a 28 per cent. increase.