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25 Nov 2002 : Column 7W—continued

MOD Contracts

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he is taking to ensure that smaller firms are not deterred from applying for Ministry of Defence contracts. [81693]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence recognises the importance of smaller firms in driving innovation and contributing to the delivery of defence capability. The Defence Industry Policy paper published in October 2002 recognised the need to invest in early technology de-risking to stimulate continued improvement and innovation across the defence supply chain.

Defence contract opportunities are advertised through publications such as the MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin and the official journal of the European Community (OJEC). MOD's Defence

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Suppliers Service (DSS) and Defence Diversification Agency (DDA) provide information and assistance to smaller firms interested in becoming defence suppliers.

The MOD also works with the Department of Trade and Industry and its Small Business Service (SBS) to maintain awareness of initiatives aimed at harnessing innovation. In autumn 2001 a joint MOD/Industry Code of Best Practice was published covering relationships at all levels within the supply chain including those with smaller firms.

NATO Summit (Prague)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what issues will be discussed at the NATO Summit on 21 and 22 November 2002. [82558]

Mr. Hoon: Against the backdrop of the rapidly changing strategic setting, the NATO Summit in Prague on 21 and 22 November 2002 discussed the transformation of the Alliance, including: enlargement, with invitations to seven countries to commence accession negotiations; a new capabilities initiative (the 'Prague Capabilities Commitment'); reform of NATO's command structure; the new NATO Response Force; reinvigorated Partnership programmes, including building on the success of the NATO-Russia Council; and modernisation of NATO's internal structures and processes.

Private Stuart McMaster

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the recorded time of death of Private Stuart James McMaster of the 1st Royal Irish regiment on 15th June on Beiseker in Calgary, Canada; what action was taken to secure evidence at the scene of the death; at what time the Canadian police were notified of the death and what the conclusions were of their investigation; what the conclusions were of military police investigators; at what time the family of the deceased were notified; and what arrangements he has made for (a) the return of the deceased to the UK, (b) an inquest and (c) a Board of Inquiry. [80646]

Mr. Ingram: Ranger (Rgr) Stuart James McMaster died at 15.25 hours Saturday 15 June 2002 during a privately paid for parachute jump at the Skydive Ranch, Beiseker, Alberta. He was deployed to Canada for adventure training, which had recently concluded. Within minutes of the accident, civilian paramedics attended the scene (the STARS (Calgary heli-born medics) and EMF Airdrie (Canadian civilian paramedics)) and pronounced Rgr McMaster dead. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to the scene at 15.35 hours and retained primacy of the investigation for the first 48 hours following the death; they concluded that there was nothing suspicious about the death. Jurisdiction was subsequently passed to the Royal Military Police (RMP) detachment at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS). An investigator from the Land Accident Investigation Team, working for the RMP, concluded that the accident occurred as a result of Rgr McMaster being unstable after exiting the aircraft.

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The casualty visiting officer informed Rgr McMaster's next of kin and additional next of kin of his death at 00.45 hours Sunday 16 June. The deceased was returned to the United Kingdom at public expense from Canada to Ireland via London departing on 19 June and arriving in Northern Ireland on 20 June. A coroner's inquest was not held since the deceased did not die in Northern Ireland; however, Rgr McMaster's family were entitled to request an inquest be held.

A determination on whether to hold a board of inquiry is yet to be made.

Puma Helicopters (South Africa)

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those companies who were consulted during the evaluation of options for refurbishment of the six ex-Republic of South Africa Puma helicopters, when he expects the (a) first aircraft to be available for service and (b) the final aircraft to be available for service; and if the evaluation included assessment of the costs of awarding the contract to Eurocopter compared with UK-based companies. [81663]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 19 November 2002]: During the evaluation of options, we consulted Eurocopter, the prime Design Authority (DA) for the main structural conversion, and Westland Helicopters Ltd., Yeovil, the designated DA for the United Kingdom-specific equipment fits and installation of United Kingdom-specific modifications.

The timescale for the delivery of the aircraft into service is the subject of contractual negotiations with Eurocopter and Westland Helicopters Ltd. and is commercially sensitive. I am therefore withholding this information under Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

I can confirm that during the evaluation process, full consideration was given to a wide range of issues including cost.

Rapid Reaction Light Infantry Brigades

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has plans to re-designate 2 and 52 Infantry Brigades as Rapid Reaction Light Infantry Brigades. [82123]

Mr. Ingram: There are no plans to re-designate 2 and 52 Infantry Brigades as Rapid Reaction Light Infantry Brigades.

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I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 567W, to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne), the two brigades have been re-roled from regional brigade headquarters to provide better command and control arrangements for light infantry role battalions, all of which are currently deployable. The change will bring greater coherence to the way that these units prepare for operations through improved co-ordination of training.

Reserve Forces

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what emergency powers are available to enable the mobilisation of reserve forces in the event of terrorist attack on the United Kingdom. [82909]

Dr. Moonie: If it was deemed necessary to call-out Reservists in the event of a terrorist attack on the United Kingdom, they would be brought into permanent service using the powers of call-out contained in the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96).

Retired Officer Scheme

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many retired officer billets are empty. [82813]

Dr. Moonie: There are presently 237 retired officer posts unfilled. Individuals have been appointed into 36 of these, but are yet to take up post.

Secondments

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the staff seconded to his Department from the private sector since April 2000, stating in each case the secondee's name, company, position within his Department and the duration of placement. [82345]

Dr. Moonie: It is our practice to respect the privacy of our personnel, including those on secondment, and to withhold the names of individuals in accordance with Exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, except where the seniority of the individual or the nature of the post warrants a formal announcement.

Alan Garwood's appointment as Head of Defence Export Services (Serial 26) was announced on 16 September 2002.

CompanyRole Duration(1)
BAE SystemsBusiness Development 6
Addleshaw, Booth & Co.Legal Adviser12
BAE SystemsAcquisition Training12
BAE SystemsAvionics8
AXA plcClaims Manager8
QinetiQDirector of Marketing36
BAE SystemsAir Systems Technology Manager24
BAE SystemsCommercial Support6
PricewaterhouseCoopersCommercial Adviser12
Babtie GroupCommercial Support9
BAE SystemsWarship Support36
URS Ltd.Risk Manager5
BAE SystemsSupport Chain Adviser31
Ernst & YoungCommercial Adviser12
Rolls RoycePropulsion Project Engineer24
QinetiQFuture Business Group32
QinetiQCustomer Support Manager24
Burges SalmonLegal Adviser8
BAE SystemsSupport Chain Adviser24
MASS ConsultantsElectronic Warfare Technical Support48
Hagglunds Vehicle ABEngineering Advice and Support22
Wragg & Co.Legal Adviser10
BAE SystemsLogistics Capability Development24
Rolls RoyceMaritime Team Leader36
PricewaterhouseCoopersPublic Private Partnering Adviser12
BAE SystemsHead Defence Export Services36
BAE SystemsAir Logistics Support12
BAE SystemsShip Systems Project Leader 24
BAE SystemsGraduate Trainee (acquisition assessment)6

(1) Month


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Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the senior staff from his Department who have been seconded to the defence industry since April 2000, stating in each case the secondee's name, position, company and duration of placement and whether the person concerned is still employed by his Department. [82388]

Dr. Moonie: It is our practice to respect the privacy of our personnel, including those on secondment, and to withhold the names of individuals in accordance with

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Exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information except where the seniority of the individual or the nature of the post warrants a formal announcement.

The secondment of John Howe as a Director at Thomson-CSF/Thales Defence Ltd. was announced in May 2000; the secondment was for two years. Mr Howe is no longer a Ministry of Defence employee.

PositionCompanyDurationCurrent MOD Employee
DirectorThomson-CSF/Thales Defence Ltd.24 monthsNo
Strategy DirectorElectronic Data Systems24 monthsYes
Senior Project ManagerRolls Royce plc24 monthsYes
Manager Operational DevelopmentBAE SYSTEMS24 monthsYes
Deputy Technical DirectorThales Defence Ltd.24 monthsYes
Research & Technology Liaison OfficerBAE SYSTEMS6 monthsYes


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