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8 May 2007 : Column 57W—continued

The approximate WTE number of DMETA clinical staff employed at present under current contracts at other NHS trust hospitals are as follows:

NHS trust hospital WTE

Ashford and St. Peters, Chertsey


Birmingham City


Chelsea and Westminster






Coventry and Warwick








Frenchay, Bristol


Good Hope




Heartlands, Birmingham


John Radcliffe, Oxford






Royal Devon and Exeter


Royal London


Selly Oak, Birmingham








Swindon and Marlborough




In accordance with contractual terms and conditions, DMETA provides the resource required to
8 May 2007 : Column 58W
achieve 100 per cent. of the WTE, either through provision of military medical personnel or through the funding of any shortfall that requires the NHS trust concerned to employ locums or agency staff. Such funding offsets the payment made by the trust for the employment of military personnel.

Armed Forces: Legal Opinion

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the explicit right to legal advice for service personnel on the ratio of courts martial to summary hearings. [135707]

Mr. Ingram: I have taken this question to be about future policy in relation to summary discipline and the right to elect court-martial trial, and its possible effect. There have been no recent changes to the circumstances in which service personnel have the right to legal advice and no changes are planned, but my Department is considering whether measures could be introduced to improve access to such advice for those who wish to obtain it. The effect of any such measures on the number of court-martial trials will need to be considered if proposals are to be taken forward but this has not yet been assessed.

Armed Forces: Mass Media

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions service personnel were given authorisation to speak to the media between 16 April and 1 May 2007. [136077]

Des Browne: Central records are only maintained for service personnel of two-star rank and above. Between 16 April and 1 May, eight personnel of two-star rank and above were granted permission to speak to the media. Not all of these interviews or speeches have yet taken place.

Armed Forces: Members

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instructions have been given to military personnel on communication with hon. and right hon. Members; when those instructions were last amended; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [133871]

Des Browne: Instructions on this subject are based upon the Queen's Regulations for each of the services, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The relevant part of the regulations were last amended in 1987.

Armed Forces: Military Aircraft

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what aircraft environment tests were undertaken on RAF MR2 Nimrod aircraft prior to deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq; and whether the aircraft were tested for extremes of temperature and desert conditions. [134332]

Mr. Ingram: Military airworthiness requirements routinely require the verification of a given aircraft's
8 May 2007 : Column 59W
performance across a range of climatic conditions; the resulting safe operating envelope is summarised in the aircraft's Release to Service document. Prior to the deployment of the Nimrod MR2 in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the existing evidence which underpinned the Release to Service was reviewed. No additional environmental testing was undertaken.

Armed Forces: Pay

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Long Service Advance of Pay was introduced; and what maximum amount personnel were able to request in each year since 1997. [132620]

Derek Twigg: The Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) scheme is designed to assist with the purchase of a home. It has been available to the Royal Navy since 1965 and was extended to the Army and RAF on 1 August 1996.

The maximum advance available to LSAP applicants is £8,500 and this has been the case since the scheme was extended to all three services in 1996.

In addition to LSAP, MOD has negotiated key worker status to help service personnel based in areas where housing is more costly, such as London and the South East. This gives an additional series of routes for entering the housing market, with access to New build Homebuy, the Intermediate Rent Scheme and the First Time Buyers Initiative.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (a) to complete its review of the X-factor and (b) to report to Ministers; and when he expects to publish the report. [136034]

Des Browne: The review of X-factor will be completed this year and the outcome will be included in the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body's 2008 report which is expected to be submitted to the Prime Minister and published in early 2008.

Armed Forces: Publications

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to publish joint service publications on his Department’s website. [135360]

Derek Twigg: The sponsors of individual Joint Service Publications (JSPs) are responsible for their content, currency and publication. All JSPs are published internally on the Defence Intranet and where the sponsor deems it appropriate, also on the external website,

The following JSPs have been published on by the relevant sponsors:

8 May 2007 : Column 60W

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Army's policy towards recruits who (a) have been diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and (b) have been prescribed methylphenidate drugs to combat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [134333]

Derek Twigg: The Tri-Service Medical Entry guidelines, which govern entry in to the Army, state that the basic form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) frequently resolves with time, so recruitment may be permitted if the candidate has been free from symptoms and off all medication (including Methylphenidate drugs) for more than three years prior to application. If the basic condition is complicated with violent and/or delinquent behaviour then such candidates would normally be graded as medically unfit for enlistment as current evidence indicates that this form of the condition is much less likely to improve with time.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much each regiment contributes towards the cost of a dress uniform for non-commissioned officers. [134152]

Mr. Ingram: Mess dress is the only uniform that non-commissioned officers are not issued with. The reason for this is because it is not officially laid down in Queen's Regulations for the Army that non-commissioned officers have to wear mess dress (unlike officers). Non-commissioned officers are, however, issued with all uniforms they are required to wear in order to perform their duties.

Each corps regiment or unit in the Army has its own policy on whether it requires non-commissioned officers to have mess dress and indeed on whether assistance is available from non-public funds to help with the cost. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Disciplinary Proceedings

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many grievance procedures have been initiated in his Department in the last 12 months. [135151]

Derek Twigg: Statistics on the numbers of MOD civilian staff who initiated the departmental grievance procedure at the informal or formal grievance stage in the last year at unit level are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. At the grievance appeal stage, civilian staff can either appeal to a higher level of line management, or to an
8 May 2007 : Column 61W
independent Grievance Appeal Panel. The number of appeals heard by higher line management is not held centrally. The number of independent Grievance Appeal Panel hearings arranged between January and December 2006 was 58.

Different grievance procedures apply to service personnel. Under the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957, a service person who thinks themselves wronged in any matter relating to their service may make a complaint about that matter, which may be considered by the Defence Council, unless resolved at a lower level.

Complaints not resolved informally or at Commanding Officer level (level one) are shown in the following table for the period January 2006-December 2006.

There are currently differences in the manner in which the services define and record formal complaints, which means that a direct comparison is not possible.

Formal complaints: January to December 2006

The figures show the number of formal complaints that have been raised to either Higher Authority (level two) or Service Board (level three).


Royal Navy






In respect of the Royal Navy and the RAF, these figures differ from those which my right hon. Friend the Member for Islwyn (Mr. Touhig) gave in answer to the hon. Gentleman’s similar question on 18 April 2006, Official Report, columns 624-25W. This is because numbers were provided for complaints that had been considered at both levels two and three, resulting in some complaints being recorded twice.

The following table shows the correct figures for 2003-05 collated on the same basis as those for 2006.

Royal Navy Army RAF













Departments: ICT

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the progress of the roll-out of Defence Information Infrastructure; and how many sites are active under increment 1. [135358]

Derek Twigg: The roll-out of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) project is progressing satisfactorily. At the end of April 2007, the number of sites with DII(F) “live” reached 224.

Departments: Ministerial Red Boxes

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Ministerial red boxes his
8 May 2007 : Column 62W
Department bought in each of the last five years; and how much each cost; [134950]

(2) what tendering process is used to decide which company supplies Ministerial red boxes to his Department. [134953]

Derek Twigg: The MOD has purchased a total of 11 new ministerial red boxes over the past five years. The cost of each box purchased in each of the previous five years has been:



One box at £585


One box at £559


Two boxes at a total cost of £916


Two boxes at £564 each


Four boxes at £550 each and one box at £720.

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