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25 Nov 2002 : Column 4W—continued

Defence Logistics Organisation

Mr. Bernard Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultants have been hired to advise on computer systems for the Defence Logistics Organisation; and how much has been paid in fees to them. [80971]

Mr. Ingram: Since the Defence Logistics Organisation was fully formed in April 2000 a number of consultants have been hired across the organisation to advise on computer systems. These are: Alenia Marconi, Belgravia Consultancy, British Telecom, Capital ASI, Cookie Ltd, Cornwell Affiliates Pic, Cap Gemini and Ernst and Young, Dbi, CTPi Logistics, Digital Think, Eurostep Ltd, EDS Ltd, Exe Technologies Ltd, Hancocks, Hays Personnel Services, IBM, KPMG, LSC Group Ltd, Methods Applications Ltd, Northgate Information Systems, Parity Solutions, Recital Corporation Ltd, Scientific Generics and Systems Consultant Services. These companies have assisted with advice on the support for current logistics systems as well as development work on new systems.

The total amount paid to the above consultants is 52,572,875.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the seven key areas for improvement as identified by the Defence Logistics Organisation and what progress has been made in each. [80974]

Mr. Ingram: Since the launch of the Defence Logistics Organisation on 3 April 2000, the organisation has focused on seven key areas in support of its corporate plan, to enable the delivery of agreed outputs to its customers at greatly reduced costs. The seven areas are people; inventory; industry; capital asset management; engineering support; e-business and convergence. Good progress has been made in all of these areas.

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Drug Use (Armed Forces)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force tested positive for the use of controlled substances in the most recent testing programme; and if he will list those personnel discharged, broken down by military rank. [82121]

Dr. Moonie: The armed forces conduct a rolling Compulsory Drugs Testing programme. For the period 1 January and 30 June 2002 the numbers are as follows:

ServiceNumber of testsPositive results Discharges
The Naval Service7,79329Lt Cdr x 1 CPO x l PO x 2 Leading Hand x 3 Able Rate x 20
Army44,625255Cpl x 2 L/Cpl x l6 Pte x 165
RAF5,0383Jnr Tech x 1

A number of personnel are awaiting a decision on discharge, therefore the discharge rate is likely to increase.

EU General Affairs Council

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what defence-related issues were decided at the EU General Affairs Council on Tuesday 19 November; and if he will make a statement. [82555]

Mr. Hoon: EU Defence Ministers focused primarily on EU military capabilities and the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP). Ministers welcomed the progress made on ECAP, and agreed how to take the process forward to the second phase, the implementation of the solutions identified by the ECAP panels. Ministers also approved an update of the Helsinki Headline Catalogue and agreed that work should continue on developing the procedures and concepts for the rapid response elements of the Headline Goal. The full conclusions of the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council relating to the European Security and Defence Policy have been placed in the Library of the House.

Firefighters' Dispute

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are being trained to operate modern fire engines. [82154]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 21 November 2002]: I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 21 November 2002 Official Report, column 220W to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner).

Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will make a decision on the Hawk advanced jet trainer project; and what assessment he has made of the Hawk A1T8's potential for fulfilling the AJT criteria. [80497]

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Dr. Moonie: We are working closely with BAE SYSTEMS to determine whether Hawk 128 will best meet our need for an advanced jet trainer. We also need to determine whether the aircraft would represent good value for money for the taxpayer. We have made useful progress but our work with the company, including our assessment of the aircraft's capability, is not yet complete. We are seeking to make a decision as soon as practicable.

HMS Nottingham

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he estimates repairs to HMS Nottingham will cost; and if he will make a statement. [82125]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 143W, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) and on 4 November 2002, Official Report, column 62W, to my hon. Friend for Dunfermline, West (Rachel Squire). While we expect Nottingham's future to be determined before her arrival in the United Kingdom in December, the decision has not yet been taken. In addition, the competition to inform that decision is still under way and it would not therefore be appropriate for me to speculate on the potential cost of any repair work.

Legal Services

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal assistance is available to members of the Armed Forces; and if he will make a statement. [82120]

Mr. Ingram: Members of the Armed Forces are entitled to the same legal assistance as other members of the public. The assistance available through Service procedures is intended to mirror as closely as possible the arrangements in the civil justice system.

In addition the Ministry of Defence will consider paying for the defence of an individual charged with a criminal offence where the offence arose as a result of actions undertaken in the course of employment and where certain strict criteria are met.

Low Frequency Sonar Systems

Mr. Paul Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent discussions he has had with the US Navy on low frequency active sonar; and if he will make a statement; [82139]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence and its Agencies regularly engage in discussion with the United States on a range of issues. Low frequency active sonar is such an issue. We have received no formal representations as to the legality of operating low frequency sonar. A global Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been prepared for the United Kingdom's low frequency sonar (Sonar 2087) which is currently under development and an EIA will also be undertaken for each development trial that is specific to the area concerned. Legal advice is part of each EIA. In addition, the global EIA was

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subject to independent legal review. We remain committed to meeting the requirements of UK law and of conventions to which the UK is signatory.

Lynx

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with the new Lynx entering service with the Royal Navy. [80701]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 November 2002, Official Report, column 458W to my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, South (Mr Jones).

Medical Care

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contracts exist between his Department and (a) national health service bodies and (b) private medical bodies to provide fast-track medical care for members of Her Majesty's forces. [80795]

Dr. Moonie: Currently, the Ministry of Defence has two contracts for fast-track medical care for Service personnel. These are between the Royal Navy and two private health care companies.

Military Documents

Mr. Paul Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many documents personnel from (a) the Army, (b) the Naval Service and (c) the Royal Air Force would normally be asked to sign (i) during the first year of service, (ii) during each subsequent year and (iii) before being sent on a deployment; and what the figures were in each of the past 15 years. [82127]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Such information as is available shows for example that some 1.35 million applications for leave were made by Service Personnel during 2000–01 and that some 102,000 Personnel were posted to new appointments which were acknowledged by written signature. Work is underway within the Ministry of Defence to examine the scope for streamlining such administrative procedures.


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