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28 Feb 2007 : Column 1330Wcontinued
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) staff pay in her Department compared to equivalent grades in other Departments and (b) the likely effect of the new pay system on this situation. 
Vera Baird: DCA monitor salary levels relative to other Government Departments through the mechanism of the Cabinet Office Pay Club through which we are able to compare detailed data across other Departments.
We are currently undertaking a pay and grading review. The intention is to introduce the new arrangements from 1 August 2007 which will make us more competitive in the employment market. After detailed discussions last year, HM Treasury agreed a four-year pay remit from 2007-11 with average annual increases to the remit of 3.7 per cent.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will assess the effect of the introduction of performance-related pay for staff in her Department on the operation of the judicial system. 
Vera Baird: An element of performance-related pay has been in place for a number of years in DCA (and the Courts Service). However, staff who joined the DCA under TUPE on amalgamation with the magistrates courts service on 1 April 2005 have not been subject to performance-related pay in the past.
The introduction of performance-related pay across the DCA is intended to motivate and reward staff for their performance and thereby to reinforce a culture of high performance within the Department. In this context we anticipate this will contribute to the effectiveness of the DCA in our support of the judicial system.
Michael Gove: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs under what statutory provisions local authorities charge the public for access to public documents they hold. 
Vera Baird: There are numerous statutory provisions regarding charging the public for access to public documents. Many relate to specific types of public documents or specific forms of access. Responsibilities in this area are held by a number of Government Departments. A list of statutory provisions is not held centrally and to compile such a list would incur disproportionate cost.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many legal aid firms her Department has listed since 2003. 
Vera Baird: The number of legal aid firms holding contracts with the Legal Services Commission as at 31 March each year is as follows:
|(1)This includes private practice firms and not-for-profit agencies|
Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what compensation was given to the immediate former chief executive officer of the Legal Services Commission on her retirement. 
Vera Baird: The details will be disclosed in the Legal Services Commissions annual accounts 2006-07, which are expected to be laid before Parliament and published in July 2007.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision of military helicopters to UK troops in Afghanistan. 
Des Browne: We have the number of helicopters we require to do the task.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK military personnel were qualified to drive minibuses in 1997; how many are currently qualified; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 14 December 2006, Official Report, column 1257W.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK military personnel were deployed to (a) EU military missions and (b) administrative functions within EU institutions on 1 January 2007; and how many personnel were deployed at each location. 
Des Browne [holding answer 27 February 2007]: On 1 January 2007, there were 600 UK military personnel deployed to EUFOR Althea, the EU military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This included 30 military personnel in Sarajevo and 570 military personnel in Banja Luka. EUFOR Althea was the only EU military mission active on this date.
16 UK military personnel were working within EU institutions in Brussels, Belgium. This includes military personnel within the EU Military Staff and the European Defence Agency.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many problems with service families accommodation at Blandford Camp were reported to Modern Housing Solutions in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; and how many of these were satisfactorily rectified within three months of notification. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 27 February 2007]: The contract placed with Modern Housing Solutions (MHS) was signed on 14 November 2005 and went live in early 2006, therefore no complaints prior to that date were reported to MHS.
In 2006, a total of 2,636 jobs were raised and of these 2,435 (92.4 per cent.) were satisfactorily dealt with within three months.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what (a) fatalities and (b) serious injuries have been sustained by occupants of Pinsgauer Vector vehicles in occupational use; and what the positions of the persons involved were within the vehicle; 
(2) whether any Pinsgauer Vector vehicle has been hit by (a) mine or (b) improvised explosive device; what damage was sustained; and whether the vehicle was written off. 
Mr. Ingram: Vector is currently being delivered to the Army; and will be deployed to Afghanistan imminently. Therefore it has not yet been subject to attack on operations.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review Army discipline rules, regulations and procedures following the acquittal of Colonel Jorge Mendonça; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: I am unable to make a statement or comment substantially at this time on Colonel Mendonças acquittal as to do so could be prejudicial to the ongoing court-martial in the case of Payne and others. I would remind my hon. Friend however that in February 2005 the then Chief of the General Staff announced what was, and is, to be a wide-ranging review that would involve extensive consultation, both within and beyond the Army and the Ministry of Defence. The review is looking at three main strands: doctrine (particularly the preparation of personnel for all tasks and scenarios they may face); secondly, officer and non-commissioned officer training and performance; and the disciplinary system. The review will also examine issues surrounding recent and current investigations into individual training. We said in 2005 that we will publish our findings when we are no longer constrained by legal process.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many items of furniture have been (a) lost and (b) stolen from his Department in each year since 1997; and what the value was of those items in each year. 
Derek Twigg: There is no central record of items of furniture lost or stolen within the Ministry of Defence, and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of total public expenditure represented by the amount of the additional costs incurred by the conflicts in (a) Iraq in each year since 2002-03 and (b) Afghanistan in each year since 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: MOD identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs that the Department would have incurred regardless of the operation taking place, such as wages and salaries, are not included. Savings on activities that have not occurred because of the operationtraining exercises for exampleare taken into account in arriving at the net figures.
The annual audited figures for the costs of operations in Iraq for the years 2002-03 to 2005-06 and Afghanistan for the years 2001-02 to 2005-06 and the proposed provision for 2007-08, which will be voted on by Parliament in March, are in the following table.
|Operation||Net additional operational costs (£ million)||Public expenditure (Taken from table 1.1 of the public expenditure statistical analyses 2006) (£ million)|
Costs for total public expenditure for 2001-02 to 2006-07 have been taken from the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2006.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice he has received on the public consultation on the White Paper The Future of the United Kingdoms Nuclear Deterrent. 
Des Browne [holding answer 26 February 2007]: I am fully engaged in the public and parliamentary debate following the publication of the White Paper last year. I have participated in a wide range of discussions, have made a comprehensive speech at Kings College, London and provided wide-ranging evidence to the Defence Committee. Up to 23 February, I had also received some 700 written representations.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military personnel there are working in the military-managed ward at Selly Oak hospital; and what their roles are. 
Derek Twigg: There are now 18 qualified military nurses in the military managed ward (MMW), plus five military health care assistants allocated to it. A military surgical consultant has been appointed as the military trauma patient co-ordinator.
The 18 military nurses include four military managers who are involved at every level on the MMW. The military ward manager is responsible for all aspects of the military presence on the ward, whether staffer patient issues. The military ward manager is assisted by three military deputy ward managers who are responsible for the planning and delivery of patient care to both military and civilian patients. Military nursing staff will now be on duty on every shift on the ward, including the night shift. There are, and will remain, civilian nursing personnel on the ward.
The military surgical consultant liaises with colleagues to provide advice on service issues and ensures that military aspects of their treatment are taken into account. There are 12 military consultants based at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, and wherever it is clinically appropriate and practicable military patients are allocated to one of them.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what facilities are provided for injured service personnel treated in the military-managed ward at Selly Oak hospital. 
Derek Twigg: The military managed ward (MMW), located in the main body of Selly Oak hospital (which is the primary reception hospital for service casualties from operations overseas), reached initial operating capability just before Christmas 2006. It provides clinical care, by a combined team of military and civilian personnel, for military patients whose clinical condition allows for them to be nursed in this ward. There are military managers involved at every level on the MMW, with a military ward manager responsible for all aspects of the military presence on the ward, whether staff or patient issues, and for liaising with appropriate authorities. The MMW ward manager is assisted by three military deputy ward managers who are responsible for the planning and delivery of patient care to both military and civilian patients, although they primarily focus on military activity. An enhanced military nursing structure is in place for this ward, comprising military nurses and military health care assistants, and military nursing staff are on duty on every shift on the ward.
Wherever possible, military patients are allocated to one of the 12 military consultants who work at RCDM, although by far the largest proportion of specialist care is provided by NHS consultant staff, which reflects the range and capabilities of the knowledge, skills and resources the NHS makes available to our patients. Each military patient in the Birmingham area now has a named military nurse whom he or she can contact at any time on clinical and other issues, and a military nurse team member visits every military patient being treated at a Birmingham hospital three times a day. This is in addition to the work of the Defence Medical Welfare Service (now reinforced by the Army Welfare Service), who visit patients regularly, and each deployed task force provides military liaison officers on the ward.
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