17 Jul 2002 : Column 275W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 17 July 2002


HMS Fearless

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to extend the life of HMS Fearless. [69856]

Mr. Ingram: There are no plans to extend the life of HMS Fearless.

Training Costs

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding the UK will provide for the staff training course beginning in April 2003 at Liptovsky Mikulas Military Academy in Slovakia; how long the training will last; and if he will make a statement. [70055]

Mr. Ingram: The Junior Staff Officers' Course (JSOC) (Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)) project is a joint initiative between the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, together with the Slovak Republic as the host nation. Its purpose is to set up a Regional Training Centre in Central and Eastern Europe similar to the UK initiatives at Vyskov in Czech Republic and Bucharest in Romania. The division of costs, less personnel related funding, is UK 75 per cent. and The Netherlands 25 per cent. The Netherlands will provide and fund 25 per cent. of the personnel. The Slovak Republic will provide the infrastructure, food and accommodation and some locally employed staff.

The aim of the JSOC is to provide command and staff training in English, based upon British/NATO Defence Doctrine, for Senior Lieutenants, Captains and Majors from the Partnership for Peace partners. This will enable them to participate effectively within a multinational environment in training, exercises, military operations and 'operations other than war' (OOTW) operations. OOTW includes Peace Support, Humanitarian and Natural Disaster operations.

It is intended to run three courses per annum, each for up to 60 students, of approximately 12 weeks' duration. It is intended to begin the first course in late April or early May 2003.

The JSOC project is an initiative within the Outreach Programme, part of the Defence Diplomacy Mission. This programme of bilateral and multilateral defence co-operation in CEE contributes to international stability by assisting countries in the region to establish democratically accountable, cost effective armed formes capable of contributing both to national and regional security and, increasingly, to international security through participation in peach support operations.

The UK funding for this project will come from the Global Conflict Prevention Fund (GCPF)(GEE Strategy). The estimated cost to the UK in the Financial Year

17 Jul 2002 : Column 276W

2002–2003, including personnel, is £1.2 million as setting up costs. Running costs in subsequent years are estimated to be £1.3-£1.4 million.

Flying Training

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will extend the scope of the Hunting Aviation contract to provide aircraft and crews for routine training. [69995]

Mr. Ingram: Hunting Contract Services is now part of the Babcock group. We currently have two contracts with Babcock HCS in support of non-operational flying training. One contract covers support services at RAF Cranwell, including engineering support of Jetstream and Dominie aircraft, which are used for Multi-Engine Flying training and for Navigator/rearcrew training. This contract ends on 30 March 2004. A competition will be held for a replacement contract and the scope of the contract will be increased to include the provision of aircraft.

The other current contract provides aircraft and the majority of the instructors for the Joint Elementary Flying Training School's tasks. This contract ends on 7 July 2003 and following a competition Babcock HCS have been awarded the follow on contract.

For the longer term the future delivery of flying training is being considered by the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System project.

HMS Nottingham

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long he expects HMS Nottingham to be out of service; and if he will make a statement. [70058]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 July 2002, Official Report, column 26W, to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin).

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the damage to HMS Nottingham from collision with a rock off Australia. [69409]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 July 2002]: The damage to Nottingham is severe. There has been extensive structural damage and flooding in the forward part of the ship. This has been controlled. She is in a safe, stable condition and is at anchor. Specialist teams are on board and they are continuing with their assessments. A further, more comprehensive survey of her structure and equipment will be necessary to determine the full extent of the damage.

Mobile Telephones

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on members of the armed forces using mobile telephones for personal purposes on deployments and operations. [69524]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 July 2002]: The use of personal mobile phones by members of the armed forces during deployments and operations is at the discretion of the local Commander.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what showering and washing facilities are in place for

17 Jul 2002 : Column 277W

British armed forces personnel serving in Afghanistan; when these facilities were installed; and whether hot water was available. [69521]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 July 2002]: There have been showering and washing facilities with hot water in place for both the International Security Assistance Force and Task Force JACANA personnel since early in their deployments.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what latrine facilities are in place for British armed forces personnel serving in Afghanistan. [69522]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 July 2002]: There are deep trench latrines in place for troops in Afghanistan; this is in line with normal procedure for expeditionary operations. However, 20 toilet combination units containing showers and WCs are currently being put in place for those United Kingdom ISAF elements that will be in Kabul until the early winter months.

Weapons Regulations

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the content was of the applicable regulation in force concerning the qualifying age for a private in the army to carry a weapon when engaged on general security duties in each year since 1994; and how (a) general security duties, (b) weapon, (c) engaged and (d) carrying are defined for the purposes of such regulation. [69286]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 July 2002]: I am withholding information on the detail of the regulations in force since 1994 in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. In general terms, however, the regulations outline the eligibility of Army personnel for armed security duties, covering principally the training standards to be met, but also stipulating the minimum age requirement, namely having reached the age of 17 years.

The following definitions apply:

Armed Forces (Review)

Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for a review of armed forces personnel processes. [71291]

Mr. Ingram: A review of armed forces personnel processes is to be carried out this year. Preliminary work (Phase 1) has defined the scope of the study and identified the processes concerned. The aim of the review os to ensure that the outcome of the processes (providing the armed forces with the right number of people with the right skills in the right place at the right time) is achieved effectively and as efficiently as possible.

17 Jul 2002 : Column 278W

The review will proceed in two further phases, under the sponsorship of the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel). Phase 2 will identify management, organisational, and structural options for improving the delivery of the personnel process outputs. The examination will include the business planning and performance management framework within which these processes operate. The sponsor expects to receive the report early in 2003. Phase 3, to be completed in mid-2003, will develop more detailed proposals for improvements in future performance and service delivery.

This process-based review, whose approach is supported by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, will replace planned quinquennial reviews of the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency (NRTA), the Army Training and Recruiting Agency (ATRA), and the RAF's Training Group Defence Agency (TGDA). Although the future of these agencies will be considered in detail, the review will focus on end-to-end processes, and not primarily on historical agency performance.

The review team will conduct wide consultation with representatives of stakeholders. However, the team would be interested to hear the views of other organisations or individuals (including people currently in the armed forces) who would like to make a contribution to the review. Those wishing to do so should send their contributions by Monday 16 September by post to:

Next Section Index Home Page