The Ministry of Justice has declined to give full answers to a string of parliamentary questions on its spending on external services.
Pete Wishart, Scottish National Party MP for Perth and Perthshire North, asked how much the MoJ had spent on external legal advice since it was created in May 2007. Justice minister Michael Wills said that the MoJ spent £4.06m, but this figure did not include fees for advice on the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) because identifying these fees would involve examining ‘numerous locally held records’ at ‘disproportionate’ cost.
In its report in early November, the Public Accounts Committee lambasted NOMS over C-NOMIS, the ‘shambolic’ offender management IT project. NOMS is unable to say in detail what £161m of the £513m project costs were spent on.
The MoJ was also asked how much it had spent on special advisers and press officers in 2008/09. Wills said that it was not possible to disaggregate this cost from the total cost of providing office facilities to the MoJ.
The MoJ also declined to reveal how much it and its predecessors have paid to outsourcing company Capita since 1997. Wills said that data on the monetary value of outstanding contracts is not held centrally and gathering the information would be disproportionately expensive.
Wills said the MoJ will make more procurement data available once it has implemented a new procurement system in 2010.