Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many away days his Department has held since May 2010; what the location was of each such away day; how many staff attended; and what the cost was of each such event.
Jonathan Djanogly (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid), Justice; Huntingdon, Conservative)
“Away days” are an integral part of business activity, often used as part of training, business planning and development and for communicating significant business changes to large numbers of staff in a timely and consistent fashion. Wherever possible, such events occur at departmental facilities, which incur no additional cost. However, due to the constraints on availability of suitable accommodation, on some occasions such meetings may take place off-site. Given the significant savings being delivered by the Department and the stringent financial controls in place, such discretionary expenditure is only permitted where there is a strong business case to support it, which has been approved at director level.
Because such events are managed locally by business areas, for the period from May 2010 to date, the Ministry has no central records on the total number of away days, their locations, the number of staff in attendance or the costs involved. To establish the number, location and costs of away day events would require a Ministry-wide survey of all its local business areas. A Ministry-wide survey would therefore amount to a significant exercise and incur a disproportionate cost.