Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140 - 159)



  140. If there is an overspend what do they do; do they come to you or do they have to take it out of something else?
  (Ms Craig) The way in which the budget holders manage their budget is nothing to do with me; that is entirely their responsibility.

  141. But you make sure they spend it properly?
  (Ms Craig) No, it is their responsibility.

  142. So they are entirely on their own; the centre has no proper oversight to say "Look, we don't think you're taking security seriously enough, we think you ought to do x, y, or z"?
  (Ms Craig) The centre has oversight over what the budget holders spend money on. Generally speaking, they are given an overall budget and they then have to live within that. They box and cox on what they spend money on.

  143. They decide how much they spend on security?
  (Ms Craig) Yes.

Mr Hancock

  144. How do you prevent a risk owner becoming a risk taker?
  (Ms Craig) That is his responsibility.

  145. How would you check that? How do you know if the advisers are not working to you?
  (Ms Craig) With my audit capability I would be able to see whether there was anything going wrong.

Mr Jones

  146. What is the sanction?
  (Ms Craig) They will carry the can if they do get it wrong.


  147. That is not much good, is it? If somebody carries the can, he gets pushed out on his pension and the damage is left behind. I am very much in favour of decentralisation, but the centre has to have ultimate control
  (Ms Craig) I provide the certificate of assurance at the end of the year, and the way in which I do that is to provide a report to the Defence Audit Committee about what has been happening and at that stage we can make any adjustments. But in discussion with the TLB holders I can make adjustments throughout the year to whatever they might be doing.

  148. So you are reasonably happy with the structure?
  (Ms Craig) I am quite happy with the way it works.

Mr Hancock

  149. Do they have to provide a detailed plan for the security of their operation in advance of the year beginning?
  (Ms Craig) No, not to me.

  150. Whom to then?
  (Ms Craig) No, they do not.

  151. To no one?
  (Ms Craig) No.

Mr Howarth

  152. How are you able to give this assurance if you have no responsibility at all for auditing the work carried out by the security advisers to the top-level budget holders?
  (Ms Craig) They will first do their own auditing. They all have inspection teams which are run by the principal security advisers to make sure that they are carrying out security responsibly. That would then be audited by my people to make sure that the processes were being properly carried out. I would also say that they are not left entirely on their own to do things. We do set down minimum standards in JSP 440 which they all have to abide by. Sometimes they are guidelines, sometimes mandatory. So they are not left floating around to decide as they choose entirely.


  153. This admirable bunch of the men—no women?
  (Ms Craig) No, there are no women.

  154.—all look spooks to me. What is their career progress? Do they have degrees in security management from the Scarman Centre in Leicester or intelligence background or MoD Police background?
  (Ms Craig) They are a mixture.

  155. They look a mixture!
  (Ms Craig) Most of them have got a security background. If you take Air Commodore Morgan, he is head of the RAF Police and Security Organisation. Most of them have a security background.

  156. I hope they have. One further question: Is what you have done part of the additional chapter of the SDR?
  (Ms Craig) Not directly. We have not been really involved in that. That is a much wider chapter than the security of the military bases.

  157. So the additional chapter will make no reference to policing and security?
  (Ms Craig) I do not think so. It may make glancing references but it has not been a key feature of the chapter.

  158. Should it have been?
  (Ms Craig) I do not think so.

  159. Why?
  (Ms Craig) I think that we are getting on quite well as we are. We are doing our own reviews, as I said, of security.

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