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Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility have taken sick days due to mental health and behavioural disorders in each of the last 10 years; what proportion of staff of each body this represented in each year; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the average duration of single periods of sick leave taken by staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility who gave mental health and behavioural disorders as the reason for their absence was in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many sick days were taken by employees in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility due to mental health and behavioural disorders in each of the last 10 years; what proportion of sick days taken this represented in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
|Sick days recorded against ICD 10: Mental Health and Behavioural Disorders (PSD)|
|Personnel||Total working days lost|
|12 months ending||Number||Percentage||Average days duration||Number||Percentage|
1. Data exclude staff in Trading Funds, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and Locally Engaged Civilians for whom sickness absence data are not readily available.
2. Data presented reflect the current Cabinet Office definition, setting a maximum absence of 225 days per person in any one year, and exclude absence days that occurred on weekends, annual leave and bank holidays.
3. Totals have been rounded to the nearest 10, totals and sub totals have been rounded separately and so may not equal the sums of their rounded parts.
4. The percentage of working days lost is calculated as a percentage of the total working days lost due to sickness absence.
Mental health and behavioural disorders such as anxiety and depression are often stress-related and MOD classifies all such absences under the same code. MOD is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of its employees and has a number of procedures in place to reduce stress at work.
A stress management framework, based on the Health and Safety Executives management standards, is available to all employees and gives easy to use advice on the successful prevention, recognition and management of stress at work. Online health promotion material on stress avoidance techniques is also available.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the last five years. 
Derek Twigg: The number of MOD civilian personnel who have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007, was 2,620 (rounded to the nearest 10).
MOD is totally committed to the effective management of sickness absence and consistently performs well in this area. This is achieved by a combination of methods including the setting and monitoring of absence reduction targets for business units and actively involving line managers in the process. Early referral of persistent absentees for occupational health advice is also encouraged as early referrals usually result in an earlier return to regular attendance.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility have received sick pay for sick leave due to mental health and behavioural disorders in each of the last 10 years; what the average length of time was for which sick pay was paid in these cases; and if he will make a statement. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was paid in sick pay to staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility in each of the last five years; what proportion of the staffing expenditure of each body this represented in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2008, Official Report, column 1492W, on fuels, (1) what percentage of the £80 million was paid for from the Treasury Reserve; 
I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 19 June 2008, (Official Report, column 1095W) about fuels. I apologise for the delay in replying, but the way we purchase and account for fuel is complex, and it has taken some time to assemble the information you requested.
In my reply on 7 February 2008 (Official Report, column 1492W) I stated that fuel price changes (predominantly affecting maritime and aviation fuel) were estimated to have added outturn costs of around £80 million over the period 2005-06 to 2007-08 to the Departments fuel bill. This figure was based on a costing model. More up-to-date information now available indicates, through this cost model, that the additional cost incurred by the Department over the period 2005-06 to 2007-08 through fuel price rises was some£120-130M.
The table below provides the amount the MOD spent on fuel in each year from 2005-06 to 2007-08, broken down by type of fuel. The information is derived from Top Level Budget Holders submissions to the overall Departmental Resource Accounts.
|(1) For 2005-06 and 2006-07, some aviation fuel expenditure was accounted for in the stock consumption line of the published departmental resource accounts for those years.|
(2) Defined as petroleum-based liquid fuels meeting internationally recognised specifications that are used to power ships and vehicles.
I would stress that these figures cannot be comprehensive, as local purchase arrangements are not always visible at higher levels of accounting: for example, while systems are in place to ensure propriety by recording local purchase of fuel for military vehicles at commercial petrol stations, these do not feed into higher financial management systems. Additionally, the figures do not include utilities (for example, natural gas and heating oil used to heat buildings), which are accounted for separately. There may also be other, smaller elements of fuel expenditure which Departmental financial management systems do not enable us to identify.
Assuming that volumes consumed in core Defence activity such as non-operational exercising have remained broadly constant or increased only marginally over the period, a large proportionpossibly around two-thirdsof the estimated outturn cost increase of £120-130M is likely to be attributable to Request for Resources 2 (RfR2the Departments claim against the Reserve for operations). I would stress that this is an estimate, not an absolute measure of the impact of fuel price increases on either Defence or the Exchequer.
Where fuel prices increase, there will naturally be an impact on the cost of operations, depending on the volume of consumption at the time and the extent to which any local purchasing arrangements reflect global $ price increases: a broad estimate suggests that this effect could be around £1-2M for every US $1 increase in the price of crude oil.
I am placing a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 6 May 2008, Official Report, columns 832-33W. A copy of the most recently published report, for the second half of 2007, is available in the Library of the House. The next report is not expected to be finalised until later in the year for publication in early 2009.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies (i) are classified as Government communicators and (ii) have access to the Government Communication Network. 
The GCN is open to all civilian and military staff in the Department performing communications work to register. As at 1 May 2008, the total number who has self-registered to the GCN in MOD was approximately 270.
I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 3 July 2008 (Official Report, column 1040W), about the ownership of HMS ONTARIO, whose wreck has apparently been discovered by a Canadian dive group at the bottom of Lake Ontario on the US-Canada border.
HMS ONTARIO, a 22 gun sloop, foundered in a storm on Lake Ontario on October 31 1780 during the American Revolutionary Warit is uncertain how many lives were lost (estimates range from 88 to over a 120) as the ship may have been carrying some American prisoners of war in addition to British soldiers and her British and Canadian crew. There were no survivors. The dive group, who located the wreck using side-scanning sonar and an unmanned submersible, say that it is virtually intact, it is thought that the cold, fresh water of the lake has acted as a preservative with the lack of light and oxygen slowing decomposition of the ships timbers. In addition to being effectively the last resting place of those who perished in the sinking, the remains of the ONTARIO undoubtedly represent an important item of underwater cultural heritage. The dive group apparently have no plans to attempt to raise the wreck or remove artefacts from it and have not publicised its position.
The ONTARIO was launched from Carleton Island shipyard on Lake Ontario in May 1780. A Kings Ship, she was part of the Provincial Marine, a coastal protection service on the Great Lakes operated and staffed by the Royal Navy. This service with the Provincial Marine complicates the question of ownership as it is possible that rights to the wreck may have transferred to Canada when she became an independent nation and the assets of the Provincial Marine were made over to it. This issue is being investigated but as you can appreciate, it is likely to take some time to resolve.
That said, the issue of who actually owns the wreck may, in this case, be moot. The remains of HMS ONTARIO appear to lie in United States territorial waters and the United States have already indicated that they are willing to use US legislation to protect the wreck from unauthorised interferencea stance that the United Kingdom is entirely comfortable with. The United Kingdom is unlikely to object to appropriate archaeological investigation of the findhowever, any such investigation would be a matter for the Canadian and United States authorities in the first instance given that these two countries control access to the site. We shall of course continue to monitor developments and liaise with our Canadian and United States counterparts, but it seems clear that all State parties involved are united in their wish to see the wreck of HMS ONTARIO properly protected.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the Horsea Island diving facilities have been closed to the public; whether they will be re-opened to the public; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The decision to close the Horsea Island facility to regular commercial use is the result of an increased training requirement for both Army and Royal Navy personnel, and a security review of the site which concluded that an armed security presence was required. Organised commercial diving activity is therefore no longer compatible with the operational and security arrangements required at this site.
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