Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

MCA Evidence to the Environment, Transport & Regional Affairs Committee


  7.1.1  Work of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) supports the Government's Maritime Strategy set out in the Transport White Paper (CM 3950). The strategy has four broad aims:

    —  to facilitate shipping as an efficient and environmentally friendly means of carrying our trade;

    —  to foster the growth of an efficient UK-owned merchant fleet;

    —  to promote the employment and training of UK seafarers in order to keep open a wide range of job opportunities for young people and to maintain the supply of skills and experience vital to the economy; and

    —  to encourage UK ship registration, so as to increase ship owners identification with the UK, to improve our regulatory control of shipping using UK ports and waters and to maintain the availability of assets and personnel that may be needed in time of war.


   7.1.2  The Government published "British Shipping: Charting A New Course" to underline importance attached to safety and to offering crews reasonable working conditions. In light of this policy statement the Agency's aims are to:

    —  develop, promote and enforce high standards of marine safety;

    —  minimise loss of life amongst seafarers and coastal users;

    —  respond to maritime emergencies 24-hours a day; and

    —  minimise the risk of pollution of the marine environment from ships and where pollution occurs, to minimise the impact on UK interests.


  7.1.3  The Agency pursues these aims through the following programmes:

    —  quality of the UK Flag;

    —  ship safety (Fishing Vessels, Recreational Safety and Passenger Ships and Cargo Vessels);

    —  seafarer standards;

    —  survey and certification of UK and Red Ensign vessels;

    —  inspection and enforcement;

    —  Search and Rescue; and

    —  co-ordination and pollution prevention and counter pollution.

Senior Management Structure and Experience

  7.1.4  The Executive Board:

  7.1.5  Maurice Storey trained and qualified as a Naval Architect with Swan Hunter Shipbuilders. He gained experience in ship operations both with companies in this country and abroad. Whilst with Stena Line he was the main Board Director responsible for ship and port operations.

  7.1.6  John Astbury has served in every Coastguard post from the lowest grade to his present position as Director of Maritime Operations and Chief Coastguard. He is the first to come through the grades and the only non-Royal Navy Officer to hold the post in HM Coastguard's 176-year history.

  7.1.7  Alan Cubbin is vastly experienced in the maritime industry having served his apprenticeship at Vickers Armstrong (now VSEL) at Barrow-in-Furness and spent six years with the MOD(N) in Bath. He served as Chief Surveyor in charge of Survey and Inspection Policy and as Principle Marine Surveyor in the Passenger Ships Section of the Standard Setting Division of the Marine Safety Agency (MSA).

  7.1.8  Dave Lawrence has spent most of his career in the public sector specialising in personnel and management training. For five years he was a tutor at the Civil Service College specialising in inter-personal skills and management training. In the early nineteen eighties he spent two years as a management structure analyst contrasting staffing structures in the private and public sectors.

  7.1.9  Tom Allan served as Director of the Safety and Standards Division of the MSA. He has led the UK delegation at International Maritime Organisation (IMO).


  7.2.1  Key Targets set by the Secretary of State focus safety.

Ship and crew safety
1.Ensure at least x % operators and crew of UK registered fishing vessels aware of MCA safety standards
not achieved in full
2.Follow up at least x % of significant breaches of safety and environment to determine whether to prosecute
Search and Rescue
3.Decide on Search and Rescue response to accident and life threatening reports and initiate action within five minutes of being alerted in at least x % of cases
4.Complete (a) at least x % of y key tasks and
(b) % of y planned inspections
Implement outcome of organisation review, in particular; job evaluation, pay and grading restructuring
by Dec
majority achieved
introduce formal cross training between Coastguard and Marine Surveyors
by Dec
achieve Investors in People status
by Mar
Performance against Key Targets 1998-99

  7.2.2  While key target 1 was not achieved in full, the Agency's focus on the promulgation of safety information was well received and there was encouraging feedback. The Tracking Study set up in November1998 comprised of three waves of interviews on the basis of a questionnaire designed to test practical knowledge, general awareness of safety standards, and awareness of information sources. The 60 per cent target was consistently exceeded by skippers on the practical questions related to the Fishing Vessels (Safety Provisions) Rules, Collision Regulations and fishermen's Basic Safety Training. Owners and crew members also consistently exceeded the target on practical questions on Collision Regulations and fishermen's Basic Safety Training and crew members awareness of Fishing Vessels (SafetyProvisions) Rules increase over the three waves bringing them close to target.

  7.2.3  Key target two was achieved. The Agency followed up on all six significant breaches reported in the Business Year. 38 criminal investigations were also conducted which resulted in 13 prosecutions and 11 Official Warnings issued.

  7.2.4  Key target three was achieved. The Coastguard Management Information System (CMIS) database was interrogated to determine all instances outside the permitted five minute period allowed to respond. Following this 20 per cent of Rescue Centres were visited and a manual audit was carried out demonstrating that an average figure of 4.7 per cent incidents were outside the five minute response target. This gave an indicative figure for timely responses within the 95 per cent criteria.

  7.2.5  Key target four was met by completing 24 of the 26 tasks set which resulted in a 92 per cent achievement. The Agency also carried out 1,985 Port State Control inspections in the year, which represents inspection of 28.9 per cent of the assumed number of individual ships visiting the UK, within the range of the 25-30 per cent target set by Ministers, and 104 per cent of the planned 1,900 inspections.

Performance against Key Targets 1999-2000

  7.2.6  All 58 significant breaches reported in the business year were followed up and substantial action was taken on all of these breaches which resulted in nine Prosecutions and 18 Official Warnings.

  7.2.7  The Search and Rescue target was subjected to exception reporting throughout the year and all exception incidents were subject to a manual audit. A review was carried out on five per cent of compliant records for quality assurance purposes.

  7.2.8  The number of planned inspections of Under 12 million Fishing Vessels was reliant on the training of Coastguard Sector Managers. However, this could not be undertaken until the Government's response10 to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee's report11 on the MCA was issued, therefore, the number of inspections was reduced and the target achieved.

  7.2.9  The job evaluation studies were completed by September 1999 and although negotiations in respect of the pay and grading restructuring was not concluded by the original due date of 31 December 1999 they were concluded within the business year. The cross training of Coastguard Sector Mangers to undertake fishing vessel inspections was introduced in Autumn 1999 and the Agency also achieved Investor in People accreditation by 31 March 2000 which was a major challenge.

  7.2.10  Extracts from the MCA Annual Report1998-99 and 1999-2000 giving further details with explanations and information in support of our work in achieving the Key Targets is included at Annex A.

Key Targets For 2000-01

  7.2.11  This year's Key Targets have been extended to cover areas of key concern have been set for the Agency by the Secretary of State as follows:

    Ship Safety

    1.  To agree a new statutory safety regime for under 12 metre fishing vessels by 31 October 2000 for implementation by 30 April 2001.


    2.  To complete at least 95 per cent of the agreed planned programme of vessel inspections by March 2001.

10 The Government's Response to the Sixth Report by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee: The Maritime and Coastguard Age.11 Sixth Report by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee: The Maritime and Coastguard Age.

    Search and Rescue

    3.  To decide on the search and rescue response to accidents and life threatening situations, and to initiate action if necessary, within five minutes of being alerted in at least 95 per cent of cases.

    4.  To undertake a review of the UK Search and Rescue Helicopter coverage as recommended in the National Audit Office report, Civil Maritime Search and Rescue, and make recommendations to Ministers by December 2000.

    Pollution Prevention

    5.  Following the Marine Environment High Risk Areas consultation we will prepare for Ministers a response plan by Autumn 2000 proposing the most cost effective options for Emergency Towing Vessel provision.

    6.  To evaluate and report to Ministers on the effectiveness of the National Contingency Plan for Counter Pollution by March 2001.

    7.  To evaluate the provision of UK port waste reception facilities and report to Ministers on this by December 2000.


    8.  Following an analysis of Headquarters and regional management costs, produce a specific programme for new efficiency measures and proposals to reduce such costs, and set targets for Agency management costs against pay and non-pay costs by July 2000, for each of the years 2001-04.

    9.  To analyse the first annual cycle of the time-recording Management Information System (MIS) to agree, by September 2000, specific national and regional targets for chargeable, other core and non-core activities undertaken by operational staff for 2001-04.

    10.  To complete re-location programme by releasing properties in Liverpool, Great Yarmouth, Plymouth and Newcastle by 31 March 2001.

Maritime Outcomes and Trends the Agency Work To Influence

  7.2.12  MCA work with the industry to influence the following Outcomes:

    Outcome 1:  To reduce the rate of accidents and deaths involving UK registered merchant ships and fishing vessels.

    Outcome 2:  To reduce the number of accidents and deaths resulting from accidents, within the United Kingdom Search and Rescue Region and Coastline.

    Outcome 3:  To reduce the incidents and effect of pollution from shipping activities in the United Kingdom pollution control zone.

    Outcome 4:  To enhance the safety record of the Red Ensign Fleet12

Measuring Outcomes

  7.2.13  Data comes from independent sources except for Outcome 2 provided from the MCA's Regions. All data is monitored on an annual basis and is presented in the MCA's Annual Report and Accounts.

  7.2.14  In support of these outcomes, and in planning the business activities, consideration is given to trends in marine safety, search and rescue and counter pollution. The Agency also considers the effects of the increase of tonnage on the UK register and takes into account any new policy initiatives in the DETR Corporate Plan. The Agency takes into account whether any proposals require primary legislation and identifies areas where it can take the lead or whether it can provide support to the Department or other body.

12 The Red Ensign Fleet consists of vessels registered in the UK, and other British vessels registered in Crown Dependency and UK Overseas Territory shipping registers, principal of which are Isle of Man, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Gibraltar.


  7.3.1  MCA is committed to continuing the implementation of the Integrated Coastguard Communications System (ICCS) in the remaining Co-ordination Centres and to the decommissioning of the Co-ordination Centre at Tyne Tees.

  7.3.2  The Agency plans to review the work for the Fishing Vessel Safety Trends Initiative which was a joint initiative with fishing industry operations. This review will determine the Agency's future approach in the light of casualty statistics and the analysis of fishermen's safety awareness. A comprehensive review of safety standards for UK fishing vessels, which takes account of operational as well as vessel structure and equipment, will also be completed by 2003.

  7.3.3  The MCA will implement the outcome of the joint DETR/MCA review of the management of the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme in 2001. By the end of March 2001 the scheme will have been running for three years, and at that stage we will provide an assessment of the scheme's performance.

NAO Report on Civil Maritime Search and Rescue

  7.3.4  One of the key recommendations from the National Audit Office Report on Civil Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) was that MCA should consider the scope for rationalising helicopter coverage. This recommendation was accepted and Key Target 4 to undertake a review of the UK Search and Rescue Helicopter coverage was set. Subsequently and in response to an approach from the MOD to harmonise the provisionof SAR assets, presently provided by MOD and MCA, the MCA have agreed to consider undertaking a review of the provision and coverage of UK SAR Helicopters. This review will take into account all dedicated SAR assets and emergency helicopters that become involved in search and rescue incidents and a submission to Ministers will be made in March 2001.

Protection Against Pollution

  7.3.4  Maritime Incidents during 1999, notably the MULTITANK ASCANIA, and ALANDIA STREAM incidents, and the publication of the MAIB Report into the GREEN LILY incident highlighted the need for an emergency towing vessel (ETV) to be stationed in the Fair Isle Channel area. Additionally, the SONIA incident and collision of the NORWEGIAN DREAM/EVER DECENT highlighted the need for a review of the current provision of ETVs around the UK. The MCA set up a Review Team to propose options for the provision of ETVs over the next 5-10 years and will report to Ministers in Autumn 2000. This will contribute to the DETR Review of measures to protect the coastline from pollution from ships following the designation of Marine Environment High Risk Areas (MEHRA).

Valuing Staff

  7.3.5  People issues underlie everything the Agency does, both in respect of its staff and also in the way it deals with its customers. In becoming more efficient operation staff must be supported and trained. Having achieved Investor in People accreditation in March 2000 the Agency plans for an early re-assessment in 2001-02 to ensure standards are being maintained.


  7.4.1  MCA was formed though the merger of the Marine Safety Agency (MSA) and the Coastguard Agency (TCA). In the first year the Chief Executive undertook a reviewof the organisation which identified opportunities for greater integration and presented options for better use of resources. The review to which all staff contributed, allowed theAgency to start building the new MCA culture and the work has undergone significant change.

  7.4.2  A new Executive Board (reduced from seven to four) has been established together with a reduction in the number of Regions to four (previously six for TCA and three for MSA). Two new Directorates dealing with policy and operational matters were created to improve strategic planning and allowed a clearer focus on decision making.

Select Committee Report

  7.4.3  The Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee reported on the work of the MCA in dealing with the modernisation of the Coastguard service and the merger of the former Agencies. The Government's response, issued on 12 August 1999, welcomed the Select Committee's report and was encouraged by the Committee's support for the introduction of the new communications technology through the Integrated Coastguard Communications System (ICCS)

  7.4.4  Following the Government's announcement, the MCA has taken forward the implementation of the ICCS, a major investment of £10 million which replaces obsolete analogue communication equipment with digital equipment.

  7.4.5  In line with Lord Donaldson's recommendation13 that "the MCA should carefully monitor the installation of the ICCS to ensure that it delivers the expected benefits", MCA installed the new equipment (supplied by Securicor Information Systems) in a purpose-designed operational suite at the MCA's Training Centre in February 2000. The system has been thoroughly bench tested to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Project's Business Assurance Group as well as training operators, system managers and maintenance engineers.

  7.4.6  The ICCS equipment for the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination/Sub Centres (MRCC/MRSC) has been built and installed at Clyde and Stornoway. All operators were fully trained and the system trialled before it went live in August 2000. This cleared the way for Oban to close as scheduled on 29 September with staff re-deployed to other stations. The installation of ICCS equipment for Shetland and Aberdeen is underway and will be completed before the scheduled closure of Pentland in December 2000. The Agency has recruited two additional trainers to join the installation team to provide hands-on training for every operator. No system will go live until local operators are fully trained and competent.

  7.4.7  In Autumn 2001, Tyne Tees station is planned to close following the transfer of communications to MRSC Forth & Humber. This too will enable the re-deployment of staff and equipment to other stations.

13 Review of the Five Year Strategy for HM Coastguard by Rt Hon the Lord Donaldson of Lymington.

Introduction of area One-Stop Shops for all maritime safety and counter pollution matters

  7.4.8  At the launch of the Agency in October 1998 MCA announced the One-Stop Shop concept which:

    —  from 1 January 1999, provides a 24-hour contact point service for an immediate response about the range of MCA work including requests for ship surveys and ship registration: in the first year the service dealt with 2,500 calls covering all aspects of our work;

    —  increases MCA presence on the coast where Coastguard and other operational staff work together, ensuring a prompt and effective response to threats to people's safety and the maritime environment: to this end Coastguard Sector Managers have been trained to provide inspections of fishing vessels, and following the introduction of ICCS the MCA plans to introduce greater flexibility for Coastguard Officers, which would allow them to focus on accident prevention work and to extend the Voluntary Code of Best and Safe Practice for Leisure Craft Users, as appropriate following the monitoring exercise undertaken in this Business Plan year;

    —  works to increase the number of merchant vessels on the UK register. The MCA plans to introduce a 24-hour availability for vessels wishing to register with the UK and in future years will start initial investigations to offer an over the phone vessel name reservation service and simplify registration requirements for owners where possible.

More efficient, better targeting of manpower

  7.4.9  The Government's initiative of promoting the UK as a quality flag and giving MCA a new role as an Inward Investment Agency has been welcomed by the Agency and is a positive step forward. MCA has worked to facilitate the growth of the UK shipping industry and 95 vessels over 500 gross tonnes have joined the UK Register since April 1998, which represents a net increase of 25 and a net tonnage increase of 1,173,063 gt. MCA made registration procedures simpler whilst maintaining standards, and in this way will work towards retaining the quality of the UK flag whilst attracting more ships to register to it.

  7.4.10  The introduction and development of the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme is also encouraging better standards of seafarer performance. This is the basis for future expansion of the industry and provides investment in future safety and for the resourcing of important shoreside industries. By the end of March 2001 the scheme will have been running for three years, therefore, one of the MCA's key Business Plan activities during the present year is to undertake with DETR a joint review of the administration of the scheme and to recommend possible improvements. This new career opportunity for the new generation of young British seafarers lies at the heart of the Government's determination to secure the UK's maritime future.

Customer Service Managers

  7.4.11  MCA has built a higher profile with the industry and is customer focussed, with the establishment of Customer Service Managers (CSMs). Management teams from headquarters and the regions have been relocated to enable them to work more closely than was previously possible. This, along with the increasing co-location of Marine Offices and Coastguard stations has resulted in increased efficiency and a better customer service.

Service Standards

  7.4.12  MCA is committed to a high level of service through publicised service standards, and has a well-established integrated complaints procedure; following the merger the standards were reviewed, refined and combined to offer a comprehensive service its customers. MCA continue to monitor and report on performance against these standards and encourage and welcome feedback at all levels. Any new ideas and suggestions will be taken forward where it is considered they will improve the quality and effectiveness of the service provided.


  7.4.13  Cross training for Coastguard Sector Managers to undertake fishing vessel inspections has now been introduced. Progress towards full integration has continued with "job shadowing" introduced to help Coastguards and Marine Surveyors gain a better understanding of each other's role. Administrative staff are also starting to accompany surveyors on inspections and are carrying out visual spot checks of local small passenger vessels and reporting findings to surveyors for follow up action as appropriate.

Safety—Fishing Vessels

  7.4.14  MCA continue to work towards a reduction in the number of incidents to which a Search and Rescue response is required. In March 2000, following a number of major Search and Rescue incidents involving fishing vessels, the Minister for Shipping launched a presentational campaign to increase fishermen's safety awareness and to promote positive safety culture in the fishing industry. This reinforces the SAFEFISHING campaign, launched in March 1998 to mark a three-year joint venture between MCA and the industry to reduce accidents.

  7.4.15  MCA has worked closely with the fishing industry and has undertaken tracking studies to help identify areas of concern.Whilst Maritime Safety Guidance is freely available, tracking studies have indicated that improved means of promulgation are needed, such as information in trade journals which would help raise safety awareness among the fishing industries and communities. Safety articles have been placed in Fishing News to promote safety awareness on a regular basis. All parts of the MCA will play a full part in the Government's efforts to promote the safety message that improved safety depends on the industry itself adopting a precautionary approach in its operations.

Safety—Recreational Safety

  7.4.16  The poor safety record for recreational craft is being actively tackled through the Voluntary Code of Best and Safe Practice for Leisure Craft Users, which was launched in January 2000. This Code is addressed to owners of Non-Regulated PleasureVessels (NRPVs) and provides guidance on best and safe practice. MCA will continue to promote the Code and in Autumn 2000 shall commence monitoring the effectiveness of the voluntary approach to improve recreational safety over the following two-year period.


  7.4.17  MCA adopted the new role of Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage Operations (SOSREP) in October 1999. The post was created as part of the Government's response to Lord Donaldson's Review of Salvage and Intervention and their Command and Control. On behalf of the Secretary of State the post will oversee, control and, if necessary, intervene in salvage operations within the UK waters involving vessels or fixed platforms where there is significant risk of pollution. SOSREP represents a new integrated concept in the field of Maritime Salvage Control, and the level of power and authority invested in SOSREP is intended to remove confusion and conflicts of interest involved in any incidents. The National Contingency Plan sets out the operational and administrative arrangements for an integrated response for dealing with such incidents and in the last year, formal interventions led to control being assumed by the SOSREP on five occasions.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

  7.4.18  A customer satisfaction survey to monitor the quality of Coastguard Co-ordination was also undertaken and the conclusions found there was a high level of satisfaction amongst all the types of customer. The MCA now plan to undertake smaller more specific surveys where further work was needed to address areas of concern and to meet the requirements of ISO 9001:2000 as part of the Quality Management System. The results of these surveys flow naturally into management planning of the Agency.


Improved Business Planning

  7.5.1  The MCA Business Plan 2000-01 presented to Parliament on 30 March 2000 for the first time included a forward look. The Plan sets out how the work of the MCA links through to the Government Maritime Strategy to improve maritime safety and the Outcomes that the MCA, and the industry work to influence. This is a fundamental development in the light of the Investor in People accreditation that the MCA was awarded in March 2000 and feeds into individual development plans. The MCA is also extending Quality Assurance procedures to the whole Agency, and aims to achieve certification to the ISO 9001:2000 standard during 2001.

Performance Reporting

  7.5.2  MCA have adopted the recommendations and checklists in the NAO Guide to Good Practice in Performance Reporting and this has already been reflected in the MCA Annual Report 1999-2000.

Developing and valuing staff

  7.5.3  A job specific Competency Framework identifying job specific knowledge and skills for Coastguard Officers has been developed. A full review has been undertaken of the technical training available, culminating in the introduction of a progressive technical training package which leads logically from entry level to Watch/Sector Management. Following on from the success of this, a Working Group was set up to develop a similar framework covering all aspects of work undertaken by Surveyors and consideration is being given to the development of a framework for all other Administrative/Technical posts.

  7.5.4  Whatever discipline a member of staff joins the MCA, whether as a Surveyor, Coastguard or Administrator, there are opportunities to change discipline at any stage throughout a person's career. This is actively encouraged, for example, Coastguard Sector Managers are now undertaking fishing vessel inspections, are part of teams undertaking safety drills and port State control inspections and training to become Surveyors. Also, Administrators have been appointed to posts previously held by technical staff.

Management training

  7.5.5  MCA is in the course of delivering new tailored management workshops for its managers, which provide an opportunity to discuss a variety of management and business issues specific to individual managers.

Recruitment and diversity

  7.5.6  The Agency is undertaking a wide-ranging review of its recruitment programme and entry criteria with the aim of increasing opportunities and identifying new entrants to meet the changing demands of the integrated Agency. This review commenced in June 2000 and a draft report is in preparation. MCA is looking at how best to develop the knowledge and skills of all staff, enabling the Agency to improve career development and the flexibility of staff to meet the challenges ahead with confidence. Work has started on producing an internal staff charter that focuses on a set of corporate values for the entire Agency.

Internal communication

  7.5.7  The Chief Executive regularly visits all 21 Coastguard Stations and 17 Marine Offices, with each visited at least once a year, to give a presentation to the staff on progress including details of Key Targets, budgets, MCA achievements and any forthcoming changes. This is followed by an open discussion to give staff the opportunities to discuss any issues with him.

  7.5.8  Within the MCA there is an open door policy for all staff which is beginning to be well used and opinions and comments on any aspect of improving the service they provide are encouraged at all levels. Any concern or complaint received is treated with confidentiality and feedback given.


  7.6.1  The Government maintains the view that merger of the two previous Agencies was worthwhile, not in terms of saving money, but as a way of improving the range of services it offers to the marine community and in the public interest. The £10 million investment in the ICCS project will provide opportunities to introduce more flexible use of resources and this new technology is needed to enable the Search and Rescue co-ordination response to become even more efficient.

  7.6.2  The Key Targets set for us by the Secretary of State together with the developments in new technology have allowed the Agency to be more responsive to the needs of industry. The general consensus received from the industry is that the focus of the MCA and the new Government Maritime Strategy is greatly encouraging. The new role of the MCA as an inward investment agency to facilitate the growth of the shipping industry whilst maintaining a quality flag is a positive step.

Staff communications and attitude survey

  7.6.3  A Staff Communications and Attitude survey was undertaken in Autumn 1999. Areas covered by the survey included:

    —  Communication—where most employees consider that communications within the Agency are satisfactory;

    —  Management Style—where overall the trend suggested reasonable satisfaction with management;

    —  Job Satisfaction—where the conclusion was that there is a reasonably high level of job satisfaction;

    —  Options for Change—where there were differing views on whether MCA has become more business like.

  7.6.4  The results were made available to all staff and actions are being addressed with specific smaller surveys planned eg stress monitoring and internal MCA newsletter reader survey


  7.7.1  The Agency has undergone significant change, with the focus on making the Agency a more customer focused and efficient organisation. This has only been possible with the support, dedication and commitment of all the staff, namely Coastguards, Surveyors, Administrators and Auxiliaries who have continued to provide a good service and who have responded positively to the changes introduced.

  7.7.2  Having completed the restructuring of the organisation the Agency will continue to identify opportunities for greater integration such as co-location of offices in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness. With the continuing commitment shown by the staff, the Agency is confident that it will meet the challenges ahead and that it will be able to improve the safety record of the maritime industry.


  7.8.1  Trends in Running Costs, Capital & Programme:

Figures in £k based on Cash Accounting
Reporting to DETR
1998-99 Actual
1999-2000 Actual
2000-01 Budget
Running Costs
Programme (net of A-in-A Income)

  7.8.2  The Agency has shown annual running cost growth of approximately 3 per cent over the three years. Running cost VAT credits and income derived from Wider Market initiatives have been utilised to offset the Agency's expenditure on pay, non-pay and accommodation.

  7.8.3  In the first year capital investment was fairly low. Since then the Agency has developed long-term strategies for IT, estates, and operational vehicle and boat policies, and capital expenditure has increased at a commensurate rate in these areas.The Agency will also be spending around £4 million on the ICCS project during the latter two years. It is anticipated that capital expenditure will peak during 2000-01.

  7.8.4  Programme expenditure has increased to meet the operational requirements of the business, and to meet demand-led expenditure. Thus over the period above, spending on helicopters, ETVs and HMCG communication infrastructure increased by over £3 million, and the costs of SMarT and Crew Relief by over £2 million. The Agency also absorbed during 1999-2000 expenditure of some £500k on clearance of offshore pollution and ex-gratia payments, rather than passing these on to DETR.

  7.8.5  MCA is controlled on a gross running cost (GRC) basis. Day to day management of running costs is delegated to the MCA's Chief Executive in his role as Agency Accounting Officer.

  7.8.6  In 1998-99 the MCA slightly exceeded its GRC limit by 0.6 per cent, solely as a result of a change in accounting for VAT. In 1999-2000 the MCA managed its expenditure to just 0.5 per cent beneath its GRC limit. The Agency is expected to operate within its GRC limit in the current financial year.

October 2000

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