Report (5th Day)

Part of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – in the House of Lords at 8:30 pm on 20th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 8:30 pm, 20th March 2012

I am very willing to meet. The noble Lord knows how much I value his experience, expertise and commitment in this area. I am happy to meet him to discuss this matter as often as he likes. However, later this week I will be sitting down with ministerial colleagues to discuss a detailed report on the various areas of MoJ business with the civil servants with direct line responsibility for them. We will have gone through policy areas and will be looking at various policy outcomes. The idea that somehow the National Offender Management Service is drifting somewhere outside ministerial control or accountability or that it is not being set various tasks and responsibilities is just not true.

On the other side, as has been acknowledged, we are dealing with very difficult and straitened times. The resources available to target this area are extremely limited. We shall see whether we can involve payment by results as one way of getting good results and resources into this area. We do not doubt the problem. I am very willing to continue to have discussions with the noble Lord, but I do not want to give him any false hope that we can go down this way in this Bill.