Des Browne: An internal review was carried out in the wake of the events of 19 September 2005. I am withholding further details as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role UK forces have played in the (a) training and (b) operations of the Facilities Protection Service in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne [holding answer 25 May 2006]: Coalition forces have trained some 6,650 members of the Facilities Protection Service (FPS) based in Multi-National Division (South-East). The basic training course provides FPS guards with the skills that allow them to act as static security. The advanced course content varies, being structured at the discretion of FPS commanders, but frequently includes such areas as combat life support, Quick Reaction Forces, and logistics. At present, the FPS are operating at over 800 sites in Multi-National Division (South-East) on behalf of 22 Ministries.
Mr. Watson [holding answer 25 May 2006]: We are aware of a very small number of cases where service personnel deployed to Iraq have been prescribed medication for a psychological illness; however, precise figures are not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
(5) how many complaints have been received about the operation of the Joint Personnel Administration computer system; and what changes have been made to the timetable for its introduction since the system was originally planned. 
Mr. Watson: On 20 March 2006, the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA) rolled out Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) to all 48,000 RAF service personnel throughout the world on time and on budget. The event marked the culmination of five years of system design, development, integration and testing and bears testimony to a very strong partnering agreement between MOD and EDS. The total cost to date of JPA is £116 million.
The suitability of JPA was considered in July 2004 by the Defence Investment Approvals Board in approving the Main Gate Business Case. Prior to rollout, the readiness for service was assessed by an independent Office of Government Commerce Gateway review.
On JPA rollout to the RAF there were a small number of technical issues which had not manifested themselves in the extensive testing carried out prior to its launch. This resulted in the system operating much more slowly than anticipated which greatly restricted the number of self-service users at any one time. Over the course of the last six weeks these early problems have been overcome and all users now have full access to the system. JPA has performed satisfactorily on rollout to RAF professional HR administrators and has delivered pay to the RAF with only a relatively few discrepancies caused by the migration of data from the legacy systems to JPA. Although the first few weeks following rollout have generated a significant number of enquiries, no formal complaints have been received.
Following RAF rollout, the related provisional JPA dates for the RN and Army were June and November 2006 respectively. However, in order to more closely align JPA with Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme requirements, current plans are that JPA will be rolled out to the RN from October 2006 and to the Army from March 2007 respectively.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the locations are of each tactical training area in the UK in which low flying aircraft are permitted to fly to a minimum height of 100 feet. 
Mr. Watson: There are three Tactical Training Areas (TTA) in the UK Military Low Flying System, within which fixed wing aircraft and military Helicopters are permitted to operate down to 100 feet, and sometimes below, throughout the Low Flying System.
The three areas are located in mid-Wales; in the Highlands of Scotland to the north-west of the Great Glen; and, in south-west Scotland and the Anglo Scottish border area, from Dumfries and Galloway across to the Cheviot hills. Maps showing the location of the Tactical Training Areas are included in The Pattern of Military Low Flying, which is published annually, and placed in the Library of the House.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department have stayed overnight in (i) five-star, (ii) four-star and (iii) three-star hotels in each of the last three years; 
(2) what the total cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in each of the last three years; 
Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence has an Enabling Arrangement with Expotel Hotel Reservations Ltd. for booking hotel accommodation which staff can access through the Central Hotel Booking Service (CHBS). The MOD does not directly receive discounts for hotel accommodation but CHBS is required to secure the lowest possible rates available for accommodation, generally of three-star quality, throughout Great Britain and overseas. Northern Ireland is not included in this agreement.
This enabling arrangement is not mandated and individuals can choose to make their own bookings, providing they do so within a financial limit of £53 per night. There is no central record of bookings arranged outside CHBS and an attempt to collect such information could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.
CHBS does not record information on the star rating of the hotel, the choice of hotel being determined by value for money. Nor does CHBS hold information differentiating between civil servants and special advisers.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions a local authority safety plan for visiting nuclear submarines has been declared fit for purpose within 24 hours of a submarine docking at a UK port in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Ingram: Local authority off-site emergency plans in respect of nuclear submarine berths are maintained in accordance with the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR). These regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (HSE NII). Any questions relating to the fitness for purpose of the off-site plan should be referred to the HSE NII.
Mr. Watson: Ministry of Defence officials are currently studying the report of New Zealand research which used gene analysis techniques to identify minute changes in DNA which may correlate with radiation exposure. The report of this study was recently presented to the New Zealand War Pensions Research Trust Board but has not been peer-reviewed or published in the scientific press.
Mr. Watson: Records are not kept centrally in the form requested and it is not possible to identify complaints citing racial harassment separately from those citing racial discrimination. Changes to record-keeping will lead to improvements for the future. The available information is as follows:
|(1) Figures for 1 April to 31 December 2005
|(1) Records of informal complaints of racial harassment began in 2002-03.
There is no requirement to report centrally bullying and harassment cases (including racial abuse) that are resolved at local unit level. To obtain this information would incur disproportionate costs. The figures provided as follows are for the last five calendar years, and record civilian harassment cases, involving racial abuse, where MOD units have requested a formal harassment investigation be carried out by a trained departmental civilian harassment investigation officer. Records are not held centrally on whether these investigated complaints were then subsequently upheld.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many regimental bands there are in the Army; where they are located; and what the strength is of each regiment which has retained a regimental band. 
Mr. Watson: As at 1 May there were 29 bands in the Regular Army and 14 in the Territorial Army (TA). Under the Future Army Structure (FAS), the number of Regular Army bands will reduce to 23 and the TA bands will increase to 19.
It has only been possible to show a breakdown of strengths by regiment for regular infantry units. All other figures are for the appropriate arm/service. Details are shown in the following tables for Regular and Territorial Army units respectively.