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Cabinet Office

Government Consultation (Review)

The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Hilary Armstrong): I am today launching a review of Government consultation policy. The centrepiece of the review is the paper, published today, entitled “Effective Consultation: Asking the Right Questions, Asking the Right People, Listening to the Answers”.

Consultation helps public bodies make better-informed decisions on matters of policy and helps them improve public-service delivery. Consultation also helps improve the accountability of these bodies to the public, to business and to civil society. Government are most credible when they listen, and show that they are listening, to the customers of public services, the country’s experts, businesses, charities and NGOs and those who are most directly affected by the Government’s actions.

The code of practice on consultation has been in place since 2001 and has spread best practice across Government, facilitating effective stakeholder engagement in relation to formal, written consultations. The “Effective Consultation” paper looks to the future of Government consultation policy, asking how Departments can improve their approach to consultation.

The “Effective Consultation” paper will be placed in the Library of the House for the reference of Members and copies will be made available in the Vote Office.

The paper can be viewed at:

The consultation period will run until 28 September 2007, and will be carried out in accordance with current consultation policy as set out in the Cabinet Office code of practice on consultation.

Trade and Industry

East Midlands Development Agency

The Minister for Industry and the Regions (Margaret Hodge): I have decided to reappoint Bryan Jackson as chair of the East Midlands Development Agency for a further three years. The reappointment will begin on 14 December 2007 and will expire on 13 December 2010. I have placed further details of this reappointment in the Library of both Houses. This reappointment was made in accordance with the code of practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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Dr. Bryan Jackson OBE FRSA

Bryan was appointed chair of East Midlands Development Agency in December 2004.

He retired from the position of managing director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. in 2004, after 14 years, having spent the previous 23 years with Ford Motor Company. During his career, he has worked in many disciplines holding senior positions and managing several different plants in the UK and Europe covering the full range of vehicle manufacturing.

He was chairman of the East Midlands Regional Council of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in 2000-02 and he is active in the field of economic development and education, both locally and nationally.

As well as being chairman of EMDA, Bryan sits on the DTI Manufacturing Forum, Strategic Forum Olympic Task Group and is a board member of Industry Forum.

He is currently an adviser to Toyota Motor Europe, as well as chairman of Total Motivation, a company specialising in efficiency and personal development and Deputy Chairman of Unipart Manufacturing Group.


Airports (Policing)

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Douglas Alexander): In my statement of 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 56-57WS I announced that the Government had accepted the broad thrust of the independent review of Airport Policing by Stephen Boys Smith and outlined some of the report’s key recommendations. I also made a commitment to make a further statement in due course about progress.

The report’s recommendations focused on how police and the aviation industry’s security activities could be better harmonised to improve effectiveness and efficiency. In particular, how to achieve an appropriate balance between the various stakeholders for delivering all aspects of security at airports was considered. The Government fully accept that any policing element of airport security should be transparent and understood as part of a wider package of security measures at airports.

We have welcomed stakeholders’ general support of the report’s diagnosis and their endorsement of its conclusions about the need to define agency accountability; to enhance liaison between stakeholders at all levels; and to further develop the Multi-Agency Threat and Risk Assessment (MATRA) approach that is already in place at airports. All stakeholders recognise the fundamental need for clarity, transparency and agreement of their roles and responsibilities in the complete security package at airports. There has also been wide support for the conclusion that the system of designation be discontinued.

However, the Government do not underestimate concerns about the detail of possible solutions, in
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particular the identification and calculation of any policing costs to be borne by the industry; the ability of industry to recover agreed costs from passengers; and the affordability of those costs.

Since the report was concluded, constructive dialogue has been ongoing between national representatives of industry, the police and police authorities and Government. A shared security vision for UK airports has been agreed along with the principles to be used to develop the airport security plans to achieve that vision. We welcome the greater mutual awareness, trust and commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders.

Two key areas of work have been identified to be tackled nationally.

First, MATRA remains strongly recommended best practice for all airports. We maintain that such joint agency consideration of threat and risk should be the cornerstone for current and future security activity at airports. BAA and the Metropolitan Police Authority are working together at Heathrow Airport to enhance their MATRA and to develop a shared multi-agency airport security plan. More generally for all airports, work is already underway to deliver national threat assessments to airports so that all suitably security cleared MATRA members can evaluate the security situation from the same knowledge basis. It is acknowledged by all stakeholders that an enhanced MATRA process may identify improved options for tackling particular security issues. Some of these may need to be delivered by the police but it is recognised that a dedicated and permanent police presence may not be required at some airports.

Secondly, existing legislation is being reviewed to clarify the current responsibilities of stakeholders for security at airports to assist in resolving areas of disagreement. We are taking that work forward as quickly as possible with the agencies concerned.

Separately, complementary legislation has been introduced requiring aerodrome managers and police at designated airports to agree necessary dedicated policing resources and to clarify what the cost to the aerodrome manager should be. This is then set out in a Police Services Agreement (PSA). Some airports already have, or have had, service level agreements in place and it may be deemed by the parties to them that they remain fit for purpose and contain the requisite information to comply with the Civil Aviation Act 2006.

All this work is being drawn together to clarify the security responsibilities of all stakeholders at all airports and create the clear and transparent funding process recommended by the review. No legislative changes can be made until that work is complete but we are working to identify a suitable parliamentary opportunity for this.

Although the review did not focus on airport security, it was an examination of a key element in the protection of our airports against a range of threats. It is naturally not a report for public disclosure, however I will make another statement providing further updates in due course.

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Work and Pensions

Personal Accounts

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. John Hutton): I have today published two papers on personal accounts.

In December the Government published their Command Paper “Personal Accounts: A New Way to Save”. During the 15-week consultation period that followed, we received 82 responses from the pensions industry, stakeholders and the public. Our consultation response that we have published today shows that while there is a range of opinion on some of the details, there is also a clear consensus around the aims and core structure of personal accounts.

Personal Accounts will provide a huge boost to retirement saving in the UK; helping the 7 million people who are currently not saving enough for their retirement and generating £4 billion to £5 billion of new saving.

Members’ interests will be at the heart of Personal Accounts. The scheme will be managed by a board of trustees and we announce today that there will be an influential members’ panel which will be able to nominate one third of the trustees.

Personal Accounts will also be designed to meet the needs of a specific target group, people on moderate to low incomes without access to a workplace pension.
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They will complement rather than compete with existing provision. In setting the level of the contribution cap we have sought to find the right balance between giving the individual sufficient flexibility to save while protecting existing good pension provision. We announce today that the annual contribution limit will be £3,600 in 2005 earnings.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee published its report on Personal Accounts in March this year. I am today publishing the Government’s response to the conclusions and recommendations of that report. I am grateful to the Committee for its work and analysis. We agree with the Committee’s comment that achieving a low level of charges and maximising simplicity are particularly important aspects of Personal Accounts.

We have designed the objectives for the Personal Accounts delivery authority and scheme trustees to ensure that this can be achieved. The trustees of the scheme will be required to act in the best interests of members and the delivery authority will be tasked with delivering a scheme that will meet members’ needs with low charges, appropriate investment choices and a panel for future members.

We believe that our proposals in response to the consultation and the Committee’s recommendations strike the right balance between providing clarity for industry and employers while giving the delivery authority the flexibility it needs to implement the programme of reform.

Copies of both documents are available for hon. Members from the Vote Office.

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