§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in how many locations a common database has been introduced between courts, the Crown Prosecution Service and barristers' chambers; what evaluation he has made of the success of these schemes; and what proposals he has to extend these schemes. 
§ Mr. Hoon
The question concerns a matter which has been assigned to the Court Service under the terms of its framework document. I have therefore asked the chief executive to write to my hon. Friend.
Letter from M. D. Huebner to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 25 July 1997:The Parliamentary Secretary of the Lord Chancellor's Department has asked me to reply to your question about the number of locations at which a common database has been introduced.A common database has not yet been introduced. However, the CCCJS (a Home Office body responsible for the 'Co-ordination for Computerisation of the Criminal Justice System') is currently deciding whether to proceed with a project that will consider the introduction of a common standard for information across the criminal justice system. This project may also consider establishing a standard database. More immediately, the CCCJS has piloted and evaluated an initiative to link criminal justice agencies in Suffolk and Southampton by e-mail. The scheme has been recommended for replication and the Court Service, in conjunction with the CCCJS and local agencies, has identified other potential sites for this facility. Work is in hand to expand this initiative. Details of court lists are also sent electronically to list distributors, who in turn forward these to subscribers. Subscribers include barristers' chambers, solicitors and the Prison Service.