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PQ 2924/93/94

You asked under what authority the Driving Standards Agency undertakes pay negotiations.

Authority for the Agency to undertake pay bargaining was given, with effect from 1 April 1994, under a delegated instrument issued by the Treasury in accordance with the Civil Service (Managemment Functions) Act 1992. The Civil Service Unions were consulted, in draft, on the delegation instrument.

PQ 2931/93/94

You asked for the number of substantive driving examiners employed by the Driving Standards Agency in the last five years.

The figures, as requested, at at 31 March for each year are as follows :



1990   |1,245        

1991   |1,196        

1992   |1,109        

1993   |1,036        

1994   |969          

PQ 2936/93/94

You asked the reasons for ending the block-booking arrangement for LGV/PCV and motorcycle tests.

Please refer to the answer which the Chief Executive gave to you in his letter of 8 June.

PQ 2940/93/94

You asked when the Agency intends to enter into negotiations with trade unions about their 1994 pay claim.

We intend to commence negotiations soon.

PQ 2924/93/94

You asked why the Agency had been excluded from the national Civil Service pay settlement.

The Citizen's Charter White Paper and the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement on Civil Service pay (July 1991) set out the Government's view that wherever possible and within essential public expenditure controls, responsibility for pay and related conditions fo service should be delegated to agencies. The Government's view is that management decisions are best taken by those responsible for the delivery of the service, within robust strategic controls. Delegation of pay bargaining enables decisions to be taken by the Agency managers, rather than the officials in Whitehall. Those decisions better reflect an agency's particular circumstances. As one of the larger Agencies, delegation on pay bargaining was given to this Agency with effect from 1 April 1994.

Sick Absences

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each agency in his Department what sick absence regime is operated.

Mr. Norris : In the Central Transport Group and in the Highways Agency, Transport Research Laboratory, Vehicle Certification Agency, Driving Standards Agency, Marine Safety Agency and Coastguard Agency, responsibility for managing sickness absence is delegated to line managers, who take action in respect of any unjustified absence. Where staff have reached a high level of sick absence, defined as more than 14 days in 12 months, managers are expected to implement measures to control absence which parallel those for dealing with poor work performance.

In the Vehicle Inspectorate, line managers are expected to register concern informally when a total of eight days is reached and to give an oral warning if 14 day's absence is reached. The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency allows line managers discretion in determining which cases require formal action but it uses a trigger point of 10 days' absence for considering initial action.

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Rail Dispute

Sir David Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will invite the Confederation of British Industry and Trades Union Congress to nominate one representative each to serve on a three-man board as mediators, that he will nominate one independant

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chairman, and that such a board shall begin work immediately to try and solve the dispute between Railtrack and the RMT trade union ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : It is for the parties to the dispute to take action to resolve it. The conciliation service of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service remain at their disposal.


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