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

Memorandum by the Public and Commercial Services Union (TEA 05)

  PCS, the Trade Union representing the largest number of Civil Servants working in the Transport Agencies, submits the following views, information and data about our concerns in relation to a number of these Agencies. You will note there are some concerns that are common across all the agencies mentioned below, such as staffing and resources.

    —  In the Driving Standards Agency, the submission attached at Appendix 1, explains our concerns about the impact of a lower level of quality control and text checking, due to reducing numbers of Senior Driving Examiners and Supervising Examiners. Also the increased use of contract Driving Examiners, instead of permanent staff, adds to these concerns. Similarly, amongst Administrative staff in DSA there are too many casual employees which can have an adverse effect on service quality. The number of casuals appears to consistently exceed the levels set down in a signed agreement between PCS and the Agency. In addition there are growing worries about a contracted out computerised system for Booking Driving Tests, as there are continual and costly problems with the system (see Appendix 2).

    —  In the Highways Agency Appendix 3 explains the concerns of PCS about the apparent deficiencies in financial management, pointed to most significantly in the handling of recent staff recruitment activity and the effect this has had on the Agency's funding relationship with DETR. In addition there is considerable worry about the substantial consultancy costs already incurred for the introduction of Resource Accounting (by April 2001) in the Highways Agency, amounting to an estimated £13 million over five years. A further cost of £9 million is expected to be incurred on a new consultancy project before the new Accounting system is put in place, and we must seriously question the effectiveness of, and requirement for such substantial expenditure.

    —  In the Maritime and Coastguards Agency there are difficulties about operating disciplinary procedures, as they do not comply with the ACAS Code of Practice, and there are concerns about inadequate staffing and excessive workloads, which threaten operational capability, and cause stress.

Geoff Lewtas

Senior National Officer

November 2000

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