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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list each training and tuition course with a total cost exceeding £5,000 paid for by (a)
Column 918his Department and (b) his agencies during the last 12 months, showing the title and objectives of each course, the name of the organisations engaged, the total cost of each course, a summary of the responsibilities of staff members taking part and the process for course evaluation by his Department or agency.
Mr. Waldegrave: In respect of the Department, this information can be assembled only at disproportionate cost.
In respect of the agencies, the matter has been delegated to them and I have asked the chief executives to reply direct.
Letter from Guy Stapleton to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 3 February 1995:
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has asked me to reply to your question about training and tuition courses as this is a matter within my operational responsibility. The information is as follows:
Column 919Title: Milk Quota Management--Computer Development (Phase 1A) User Training.
Objectives: To train users in a new computer system developed for the Milk Quotas Scheme.
Organisation: Triad Special Systems Limited.
Total Cost: £6,786+ VAT.
Staff: 2 managers (1 HEO and 1 EO) plus 7 clerical staff in the Agency's new Milk Quotas section. Tuition provided over a period of 18 days during January 1994.
Evaluation: This form of training is usually considered as part of the project costs of setting up a new computerised system and was paid for out of funds specifically designated for the project. Evaluation of the training will form part of the evaluation exercise for the success of the project as a whole. An initial assessment has been made by management of the ability of individual members of staff to effectively carry-out and operate the range of functions available on the computer system.
Title: Team Building.
Objectives: To provide training, using a range of simulated exercises, both in the classroom and out-of-doors, with the aim of building team-work and leadership skills. The course was tailored to the express needs of the particular team identified in a pre-course discussion. A secondary objective was to pilot this kind of training to see if it was an approach the Agency wished to use more widely. Organisation: Group 4 Securitas Training Limited.
Total Cost: £7,460 + VAT. The course was residential (from 13 to 16 June 1994) and costs included full board and transport to and from the course by mini-bus provided by Group 4.
Staff: 4 managers (1HEO and 3 EOs), plus 8 clerical staff from Crops Division, Non-Food Set Aside Scheme Section.
Evaluation: Course assessment sheets were completed by each attendee immediately after the event and there was follow up evaluation after three months by questionnaires to attendees and their line managers. Because this was a pilot exercise, four members of the line management for this area of work, returning from a meeting in the locality, arranged to call in to observe the course in progress. A report was also made by the team leader after the event. Title: Certified Network Engineer.
Objectives: To attain the standards required for professional certification.
Organisation: Azlan Limited.
Total Cost: £5,225 + VAT.
Staff: Assistant Manager, PC Network (responsible for supporting the Agency's networked communications systems.)
Evaluation: By external examination for a recognised qualification.
Letter from T. W. A. Little to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 3 February 1995:
The Minister has asked me to reply to your question about training and tuition courses held by the Agency over the last twelve months.
CVL has not held any course which meets the criteria set out in your question in the last twelve months.
Letter from Dr. P. T. Stanley to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 3 February 1995:
Information about training and tuition courses costing in excess of £5000
The Central Science Laboratory (CSL) has been an executive agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) since 1 April 1992. In the past twelve months the Agency has not paid for any single training or tuition course costing over £5,000. However there has been one composite training contract involving several similar courses in the area of IT.
In terms of IT, CSL took the decision to move towards using Microsoft Word for Windows as the Agency's corporate software package. The objective of the training was to bring staff up to the appropriate level of competence to use the new software. The training requires individuals having access to a workstation and therefore each course is often restricted to six delegates at a time. A commercial training company, Genysis Training, was employed for a period of three months to provide the training on site at the Agency's Slough laboratory at a total cost of £11,456. The six courses making up the composite training package and numbers of staff participating were as follows:
Basic wordprocessing: 57
Advanced wordprocessing: 28
Column 920Basic spreadsheet: 87
Advanced spreadsheet: 46
Presentation graphics: 26
The responsibilities of staff receiving training ranged from scientists working on R & D and service contracts to business support staff from areas such as finance, personnel and marketing.
Courses were evaluated through the completion of questionnaires by the staff at the end of training courses and by interviews conducted by the CSL Training Officer.
Letter from A. M. Kerr to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 3 February 1995:
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has asked me to reply to your Question about expenditure on training and tuition courses in respect of the Pesticides Safety Directorate.
In the last 12 months the Directorate has not run a course where the total cost exceeded £5,000.
Letter from Dr. J. M. Rutter to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 31 January 1995:
The Minister of State has asked me to reply to your question about training and tuition courses paid for by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate during the last 12 months, as this is an operational matter for which I am responsible as Chief Executive. During this period there were no training or tuition courses paid for by the Directorate with a total cost exceeding £5,000. Letter from Dr. J. M. Walsh to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 3 February 1995:
As you know, the Minister has asked that I write to you direct with the answer to your question. In 1994 there were no courses run by this Agency that had a cost in excess of £15,000. However, there were two courses exceeding a total cost of £5,000. Details are as follows:
ADAS New Entrants Conference. The objective was to welcome new staff (consultants and administrative) to ADAS and to provide them with a clear insight into the role and work of the Agency. Seventy-four staff attended and the duration of the conference was three days (including time for travel). All tuition was undertaken by ADAS staff except for one session which was organised by the company New Direction. Staff were given an evaluation sheet at the end of the training which sought views of participants relative to the detailed objectives. The total cost for this course was £12,650.
National Training Conference for Dairy Consultants. This was a conference for ADAS Consultants working in the Dairy sector. Of the twelve sessions in the conference, eight were provided by ADAS and four were undertaken by a range of outside organisations. These were the Danish Dairy Board, Reading University, Veepro, Holland, Scottish Agricultural College, the Midland Bank plc and Liverpool University. The objective was to widen the consultants' horizons into the innovative and developing areas of the UK Dairy industry. Eighty-one staff attended and the duration was two days (including travel). There was an evaluation at the end of the conference seeking delegates views relative to the detailed objectives. The total cost was £8,000.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what were the absenteeism rates for (a) the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and (b) the Intervention Board in 1994.
Mr. Waldegrave: Responsibility for this matter is delegated to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Intervention Board, and I have asked the chief executives to reply to the hon. Gentleman direct. Letter from Guy Stapleton to Mr. David Chidgey, dated 3 February 1995:
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has asked me to reply to your question about the absenteeism rate in the Intervention
Column 921Board during 1994 as this matter is within my operational responsibility.
We monitor sick absence rates in this Agency on a financial year basis to correspond with some of the other key performance measures and targets which are published in our Annual Report. The sick absence rate in the Intervention Board for the calendar year 1994, calculated as a percentage of total man years, was 5.7 per cent. The figure represents an estimate of working days lost through sick leave, which has been drawn from our payroll data, and excludes absences for maternity leave and special leave.
Letter from Dr. J. M. Rutter, to Mr. David Chidgey, dated 30 January 1995:
The Minister has asked me to reply to your question about the absenteeism rate in the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for 1994, as this is an operational matter for which I am responsible as Chief Executive.
In terms of absenteeism related to sickness, the figure was 3.1 per cent.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies his Department has carried out regarding the possible connection between the use of pesticides and allergies.
Mrs. Browning [holding answer 2 February 1995]: None. However, we require companies to submit data in support of the approval of pesticides including those relating to potential allergic effects of those pesticides. These data are thoroughly evaluated.
Rev. Ian Paisley: To ask the Prime Minister if the treaty as well as the Act of Union with Scotland 1707 remains in full force in all its provisions, with particular reference to the Church of Scotland, the legal system for Scotland, the Scottish universities and Scottish banking together with the Union with England and for England, the Church of England, and the Union with Scotland.
The Prime Minister: The Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707 which ratified the treaty of Union remain in force as a basic legal framework for the Union of Scotland and England. Within that framework the distinctiveness of the various areas mentioned has been preserved and developed in the light of changing circumstances.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the concrete overlay surface on the A564 Foston- Hatton-Hilton bypass.
Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. However, I did make a site visit on the 11 November to see the concrete overlay surface. I understand that construction of the concrete overlay has now been completed and that a testing programme to assess the concrete will be undertaken over the next few months.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to inspect the ship safety standards in respect of the imminent shipment of high-level radioactive waste from the United Kingdom to customer countries; and what plans he has to inform countries along the route of the ship's journey from France to Japan.
Mr. Norris: There are no imminent shipments of high-level radioactive waste from the United Kingdom. It would be for the French authorities to take appropriate steps about shipments from France.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans his Department has drawn up for possible accidents involving high-level radioactive waste during transport.
Mr. Norris: Contingency plans for accidents during the carriage of high-level radioactive and irradiated fuels have been drawn up by the United Kingdom operators concerned. The Department is satisfied that those plans are adequate.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Transport Research Laboratory has to recruit staff during 1995; at what grade and discipline; what are the costs of recruitment exercises planned; and whether they will be undertaken by the private sector.
Mr. Norris: The Transport Research Laboratory is preparing its business plan for 1995 96 and, as part of this process, is reviewing the skills and resources required to meet the demands of its customers.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff by grade and discipline were given early retirement in 1994 by the Transport Research Laboratory; what was the total costs of these early retirement measures; and what is his estimate of the number and costs of early retirement planned for 1995.
Mr. Norris: The information requested is given in the following table.
Discipline |Grade |Number ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scientific staff |Assistant Scientific |2 | Officer |Scientific Officer |5 |Higher Scientific |8 | Officer |Senior Scientific |10 | Officer |Grade 7 (Principal |6 | Scientific Officer) |Grade 6 |3 Total Scientific staff |34 Technical staff |Professional and |2 | Technical Officer |Higher Professional |2 | and Technical | Officer |Librarian |1 |Photographer |1 Total Technical staff |6 Administrative staff |Telephonist |1 |Administrative | Officer |Personal Secretary |6 |Executive Officer |2 |Higher Executive |2 | Officer Total Administrative |21 | staff Industrial staff |Craft |20 |Non-craft |28 Total Industrial staff |48 Total staff |109 The total cost of these early retirements which are being made in 1994-95 is £3.8 million. The Transport Research Laboratory has no plans for further early retirements.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the estimated staff surplus (a) in his Department as a whole and (b) at the Transport Research Laboratory.
Mr. Norris: The information requested is not yet available.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the jurisdiction of the British Transport police.
Mr. Watts: I have received a number of representations on British Transport police jurisdiction, from the chief constable of the force, the British Transport Police Federation and the Association of British Transport Police Superintendents and from 15 individual BTP officers.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the British Transport police force has been fully trained to Home Office standards.
Mr. Watts: All members of the British Transport police force are fully trained at Home Office establishments to the same standards as Home Department police officers.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current strength of the British Transport police force.
Mr. Watts: Some 2,137 police officers and 429 civilians as at 31 December 1994.
Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research indications there are about the effect of a reduction of speed on the casualty and fatality rate.
Mr. Norris: International studies have indicated that a 1 mph reduction in average speed reduces accidents by 5 per cent. Recent United Kingdom work has confirmed this finding in a wide range of circumstances. Twenty mph zones have reduced casualties by 56 per cent. and child casualties by 75 per cent. Further studies have shown how the enforcement of speed limits can provide significant reductions in casualties, particularly fatalities.
Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in which local authority areas 20 mph speed limits are in operation.
Mr. Norris: My right hon. Friend has granted consents to 20 mph speed limit orders in the areas covered by the local traffic authorities listed:
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kingston Upon Thames
Richmond Upon Thames