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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 18 January 2005


Civil Service (Management Functions) Act

The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mr. David Miliband): Since the last report to Parliament, Official Report, 13 January 2004, column 28WS, the existing delegations/authorisations (other than those relating to the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service, the Health and Safety Executive, the National Assembly) for Wales and the Scottish Assembly, were revoked and replaced by a new civil service-wide delegation/authorisation to reflect machinery of Government changes. Ministers, certain bodies and office holders in charge of Departments 1 were given delegated authority from 1 February 2004 under the Civil Service (Management Functions) Act 1992 to:

1 The statutory bodies and office holders are: Chief Charity Commissioner Chief Land Registrar Commissioners of Customs and Excise Commissioners of Inland Revenue Crown Estate Commissioners Director of the Assets Recovery Agency Director of National Savings and Investments Director of Public Prosecutions Director of the Serious Fraud Office Director General of Telecommunications Director General of Water Services Food Standards Agency Gas and Electricity Markets Authority Government Actuary HM Chief Inspector of Schools in England International Rail Regulator Office of Fair Trading Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioners Postal Services Commission Rail Regulator
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(i) classification of staff (with the exception of those in the senior civil service); (ii) remuneration (with the exception of those in the senior civil service); (iii) allowances; (iv) expenses; (v) holidays, hours of work and attendance; (vi) part-time and other working arrangements; (vii) performance and promotion; (viii) retirement age (with the exception of those in the senior civil service); (ix) redundancy; (x) re-deployment of staff within the home civil service.

In some cases, where the Minister for the civil service is statutorily required to give consent to terms and conditions of service for staff appointed by statutory bodies or office holders, it was achieved by waiving that requirement, subject to the condition attached to the delegation/authorisation.

The delegation/authorisation was made subject to the condition that recipients comply with the provisions of the civil service management code as amended from time to time. Copies of the civil service management code are available electronically at:



Defence Dental Agency

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): As part of my strategy for improving the management and delivery of health services across defence, the defence dental agency will be disestablished as an agency with effect from 1 April 2005. On that date responsibility for delivering defence dental services will transfer to the director general healthcare. The re-named defence dental services organisation will become a component of his "managed military health system for force generation".

This decision follows a full review of the DDA's status in line with the recommendations of the landscape review and in recognition of the changes that have taken place since the medical quinquennial review of 2001, most notably the appointment of a director general healthcare to develop and implement a coherent end-to-end process for the delivery of health services to military personnel and entitled dependants. The review concluded that the important work of the DDA in promoting oral health, providing a primary dental treatment service and providing deployable dental personnel to support operations, should be streamlined and rationalised within DG healthcare's managed military health system in support of force generation.
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I am confident that this arrangement will preserve the benefits that have accrued as a result of agency status (improved tri-service working, professionalism and customer focus) while delivering real business benefits—contributing to a stronger emphasis on the health needs of service personnel to ensure that they are fit and healthy to deploy when needed.

Trident Missile

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): The current estimate of the total acquisition cost of the Trident programme, with payments already made expressed at the prices and exchange rates actually incurred and future spend at the current financial year exchange rate (the hybrid) estimate, is now £9,804 million. Leaving aside the effects of price inflation and exchange rate variation there has been a cost increase of £3 million which reflects adjustments to the final outturn costs in the submarine area. Expenditure on the Trident acquisition programme to 30 September 2003 represented over 99 per cent. of the total estimate. If all expenditure, past and projected, is brought up to this current year's economic conditions (the non-hybrid estimate) the estimate is £14,893 million.

The programme continues to show an overall reduction in real terms on its original 1982 estimate. This reduction, including the savings resulting from the decision to process missiles at the United States facility at Kings Bay, Georgia, now stands at over £3.6 billion at current prices.

The proportion of the estimate for work undertaken in the United Kingdom continues to be around 70 per cent.

Our four in-service Vanguard class submarines are successfully maintaining continuous at-sea deterrence, with HMS Vanguard nearing completion of a planned major overhaul.
Estimate table    £ million

Previous estimate (2003) at 2002–03
Economic conditions (£1:$1.39)2,8846,9189,802
Real changes0+3+3
Price inflation on unspent balance000
Exchange rate variation on unspent balance-1-1
Revised estimate at 2003–04
Economic conditions (£1:$1.514)2,8836,9219,804
Previous estimate (2003) at 2002–03
Economic conditions (£:$1.39)4,33610,57814,914
Real changes0+3+3
Price inflation+74+265+338
Exchange rate variation-362-362
Revised estimate at 2003–04
Economic conditions (£1:$1.514)4,04810,84614,893

Figures rounded to nearest £ million hence any apparent imbalances.

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"Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities: Next Steps"

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Ruth Kelly): This statement is being made on a joint basis, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women and Equality.

I am pleased to report that "Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities: Next Steps" is today being presented to Parliament, and sets out the Government's response to the consultation on the proposals set out in "Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities" which was published on 21 July 2004.

Parental separation is potentially damaging for children involved, especially where the separation is acrimonious. Each separation occurs in different circumstances and parents are, of course, best placed to decide the arrangements that are most likely to meet the needs of their own children. The Government's role is to provide and improve the legislative framework and related services, also working with others to make available advice and support.

We received over 250 responses to the consultation and I am grateful for respondents' comments and suggestions. While opinions about individual proposals differed, the overwhelming majority of respondents welcomed the general thrust of the Green Paper. Each of the actions set out in the "Next Steps" response, informed by the consultation responses, will be taken forward in a timely way, with new legislation being pursued as soon as parliamentary time allows.

A topic that was frequently raised in the consultation responses was whether, and what kind, of legislative change was needed to reinforce the proposals. Some respondents called for a presumption of equal contact after separation to be introduced, while many others were supportive of the current legal position. The Government are not persuaded that any legislative change to introduce a presumption of equal contact would benefit children. New legislation will be introduced in the areas of facilitation of contact and enforcement of contact orders.

In addition to the launch of the response document, I am also pleased to announce that we are investing £3 million and £4.5 million in 2006–07 and 2007–08 respectively to develop services to support child contact, including those delivered through child contact centres. We will be working over the coming months to develop specific plans for the use of these new resources. In addition, we are today launching a revised version of the "Parenting Plans", which will be subject to consultation.
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I am confident that the implementation of the agenda for action set out in the "Next Steps" will secure improved outcomes for children who experience the separation of their parents.

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