Previous Section Index Home Page

10 Nov 2005 : Column 682W—continued


Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) on how many occasions Transec has recorded a breach of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code since its introduction; [24197]

(2) whether (a) a physical port assessment and (b) a ship verification inspection conducted by the Transport Security Directorate in the last 12 months has resulted in suspension of operations. [24214]

Dr. Ladyman: It is not our policy to comment on, or provide information relating to, the compliance of individual ships or port facilities for security reasons.

Rail Passengers Council

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the work of the Rail Passengers Council will be reviewed; and when these reviews will take place. [26536]

Derek Twigg: As part of the Department's role in sponsoring the Rail Passengers Council (RPC), Ministers and officials regularly discuss with the RPC their work and performance. The Department also has a role in agreeing the RPC's corporate and business plans, including performance targets, and these plans will be published in early 2006. In addition, the RPC is required to publish an annual report and accounts which will give details of their work during a particular financial year.

In the longer term, in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance on 'lighter touch' reviews of non-departmental public bodies, the work and role of the RPC will be reviewed on a five yearly basis. These reviews will ensure that the RPC is delivering effectively against its aims and objectives. The first review of the RPC will take place in 2009–10.


Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's (a) policy is on and (b) funding allocation is to a direct rail service from London to Sunderland. [25513]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport has no plans at present to sponsor the introduction of a direct service between London and Sunderland.

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many operational arrangements have been established by the Rail Accident and Investigation Branch; and with which organisations. [26530]

10 Nov 2005 : Column 683W

Derek Twigg: The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has established a number of operational agreements to ensure that it is able to effectively carry out its investigations.

A Memorandum of Understanding for investigation in England and Wales has been drawn up between the British Transport Police (BTP), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Association of Chief Police Officers and the RAIB. A similar Memorandum has been agreed for Scotland with the BTP, the HSE, the RAIB, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. A further Memorandum of Understanding has between agreed between the RAIB, the Crown Prosecution service and the Air and Marine Accident Investigation Branches.

A Memorandum of Understanding is being established with BEATT, RAIB's French equivalent in readiness for RAIB becoming operational for the Channel Tunnel in January (2006).

While industry has the responsibility to implement the necessary arrangements to comply with the Rail (Accident Investigation and reporting) Regulations 2005, RAIB has published guidance and met with industry representatives and discussed these issues in order to facilitate this process.

Road Safety

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of his Department's budget has been allocated to road safety initiatives in financial year 2005–06. [24977]

Dr. Ladyman: Around £45 million has been allocated in 2005–06 to specific initiatives related to road safety, this represents 0.4 per cent. of the Department's Expenditure Limit of £12 billion. In addition, much of the expenditure by the Highways Agency and local authorities, which is funded through block funding by the Department, contributes to road safety.

Safety Cameras

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are made for using the revenue raised from speed cameras. [27116]

Dr. Ladyman: Revenue raised from speed cameras can be used to fund safety cameras operating within the National Safety Camera Programme. In order to participate in the netting off' arrangement, partnerships must comply with the strict criteria set out in the Handbook of Rules and Guidance for the National Safety Camera Programme for England and Wales for 2005–06", which is published on the DfT website.

Netting-off" means that the costs associated with the deployment and operation of safety cameras and the detection and enforcement of offences detected by cameras can be reclaimed from the receipts generated by the fines. The receipts are passed to the Department for Transport (DfT) and DfT reimburses the safety camera partnerships for approved expenditure incurred.

Any surplus fine revenue is paid to the Consolidated Fund at HM Treasury.
10 Nov 2005 : Column 684W

Fine revenue from cameras operating outside of the National Safety Camera Programme is passed directly to the Treasury.


Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what walking activity targets have been set by each local authority. [26537]

Derek Twigg: No mandatory indicators for walking are required in either the first or second local transport plans (LTPs). However, some local authorities have set targets either as local targets within their LTPs or as part of local public service agreements. Data on these targets are not collected centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Departmental Consultation

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will list formal consultations being sponsored by the Law Officer's Departments; and what the (a) commencement date and (b) deadline for responses is in each case. [22572]

The Solicitor-General: None of the Departments for which I am responsible are currently engaged in any form of formal public consultation. However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) headquarters is currently preparing a policy statement and guidance on the transmission of serious sexual diseases and will offer this for formal public consultation for a period of six weeks between February and March 2006.

CPS areas may be engaged in consultations locally. However, the information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost (code of practice on Access to Government Information, part 2, clause 9).

Departmental Staff (Literacy and Numeracy)

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Solicitor-General what methods of assessment of (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills are used as part of the recruitment process by employees of his Department. [23794]

The Solicitor-General: I superintend the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO), Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol) and HM CPS Inspectorate (HMCPSI). The Departments employ a variety of methods for assessing literacy and numeracy skills, dependent on their particular needs and the grade and specialism of the person being recruited.

Crown Prosecution Service

A variety of assessment methods are used for example, shortlisting application forms; undertaking competence based interviews; and/or using other selection methodology such as assessment centres, ability testing or job simulation exercises. These can include presentations, case studies, in-tray exercises and group discussions.
10 Nov 2005 : Column 685W

Treasury Solicitor's Department

TSol recruits both qualified and trainee lawyers, all of whom have to be qualified to degree level. In recruiting administrative staff they are either required to be qualified to at least GCSE level or have demonstrated relevant skills, including literacy and numeracy, in previous employment, which are essential to be able to undertake administrative work in the department.

Serious Fraud Office

The SFO uses a number of recognised tools to assess both literacy and numeracy skills for both internal and external applicants. These are supplied by SHL Ltd. and take the form of online and hard copy ability tests which assess verbal and numerical critical reasoning. They used to assess applicants below grade 7. Applicants at grade 7 and above are asked to demonstrate a wider range of skills through a number of work specific assessments.

HM CPS Inspectorate

HMCPSI's recruitment is based on assessing candidates against a person specification. Literacy and numeracy skills are not routinely the subject of formal assessment but for some posts for example HM Inspectors and HM Assistant Inspectors the recruitment process usually includes a report writing exercise. While this is mainly focused on the candidates ability to analyse information and draw conclusions from it, it is also used to ensure they are competent in written communication generally and the drafting of reports in particular.

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office

RCPO has only been in existence since April 2005. No specific assessment methodologies are used at present.

Next Section Index Home Page