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6 Apr 2010 : Column 1200W—continued

Since 2008 the MOD has not collected estimates of regional expenditure on equipment, non-equipment, or personnel costs as they do not directly support policy making or operations. The last estimates for 2007-08 were published in UK Defence Statistics in September 2009. As a result, the complex analysis required to produce the underlying regional expenditure data is no longer performed. Information for a comparable time series beyond 2007-08 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department and its agencies have spent on rooms for staff leisure in each of the last five years. [324436]

Mr. Kevan Jones: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department provides subsidised gym facilities for its staff. [324564]

Mr. Kevan Jones: All members of the armed forces are required to maintain a level of physical fitness that allows them to fulfil their service obligations. As a result, gymnasiums located on military establishments are free to use by service personnel and in certain circumstances, where capacity allows, by civilian staff. In those isolated locations where a service gymnasium is not available, local subsidised arrangements are put in place, if possible, solely for service personnel.

While MOD also allows existing on-site accommodation in some establishments to be used for fitness purposes and in doing so meets the cost of changing facilities, lighting, heating and any other utilities, it does not use public money to subsidise the running or equipping of gymnasiums for civilian staff. These gyms are run either through the auspices of the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) and funded by member subscription, or from other subscriptions from the users of the individual gym. Grants are also available from the Defence Sports and Recreation Association, which is the MOD departmental association of the CSSC, and is funded by grant from the CSSC and a local lottery.

6 Apr 2010 : Column 1201W

Departmental Energy

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) voltage optimisers and (b) equivalent technologies are used within buildings occupied by his Department. [324978]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Given that the aim of voltage optimisation (VO) is to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the performance of equipment, MOD is interested in these devices. However, we are currently seeking to validate the claims of equipment providers and a trial of these relatively new technologies is in progress at Lympstone. The outcome of the trial will inform our approach to the application of the technology across the estate.

While opportunities exist for the installation of VO equipment, for the reasons given these have not in the main yet been taken up. That said, to assist the installation of the technology we have recently issued internal guidance on VO. This covers the factors to be considered before installation.

Departmental Internet

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on (a) strategy and planning, (b) design and build, (c) hosting and infrastructure, (d) content provision and (e) testing and evaluation for his Department's websites in each of the last three years; and how much has been allocated for each such category of expenditure in 2009-10. [310761]

Bill Rammell: The Ministry of Defence and armed forces collectively maintain four principal websites. These sites are key channels to enable MOD to keep the public informed of defence activities, provide information about MOD and support recruitment.

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In support of the Transformational Government agenda, we have made significant progress in rationalising other Defence websites. The closure of some 53 websites has enabled us to make savings and improve the clarity and effectiveness of the departmental web presence. A further 19 sites are committed to close by 31 March 2011.

The four remaining principal Defence websites register a high volume of web traffic. Annual page views for the corporate MOD site,, have increased by 65 per cent. from 2006-09, from 17.5 million to 29 million.

Annual unique visitor numbers for have increased by 34 per cent. over the same period, from 3.2 million to 4.3 million.

Expenditure for the four remaining principal sites over the last three financial years is summarised in the following table. Expenditure on these has increased while other websites have closed. Expenditure breakdown by category is not available for these financial years as this requirement was not introduced until 1 April 2009, when the "Measuring Website Costs: TG128" guidance issued by the Central Office of Information (COI) came into effect. It should be noted that the expenditure figures shown are not directly comparable year on year as costs were captured differently in each year.

Financial year
Website 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

MOD corporate website:




Royal Navy:




British Army:




Royal Air Force:




Projected expenditure broken down by category for the 2009-10 financial year for the four principal websites is detailed in the following table. Figures are exclusive of internal staff costs.

Website Strategy and planning Design and build Hosting and infrastructure Content provision Testing and evaluation Total

Ministry of Defence:







Royal Navy:







British Army:







Royal Air Force:







(1) This figure also includes expenditure on MOD's internal Defence intranet.
(2) Translation services.
(3) Includes testing and evaluation.
(4) Included in design and build.

A number of other websites are run by different parts of the Ministry of Defence, but these are not managed centrally. Information on these sites could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints his Department received regarding difficulties using its Department's website in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [325200]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence and armed forces collectively maintain four corporate websites:

Ministry of Defence

Royal Navy

British Army

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Royal Air Force

The MOD takes the provision of usable, accessible, quality websites very seriously and we continually evaluate the services provided in light of feedback received from members of the public. Each website provides feedback mechanisms such as 'Contact Us' forms. Feedback provided via these forms covers a number of topics, and complaints are not captured separately from other feedback. Details of the number of complaints received could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on external website design consultants in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [325218]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence and armed forces collectively maintain four corporate websites. Expenditure on design consultancy cannot be separated from website redesign and implementation costs overall. Costs for redesign and implementation in the last three years, including design consultancy and other costs, are shown in the following table.

Website and URL

Cost (£)

MOD corporate website:



Royal Navy:



British Army:



Royal Air Force:



(1) The British Army website redesign launched on 30 May 2008; the redesign project launched in 2006 and preparatory design work was carried out between 2006 and 2008.

Departmental Location

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on the relocation of staff from posts in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point constituency in each of the last five years. [321432]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence offers a wide range of relocation assistance to civilians transferring at public expense but this information is not held in the format requested.

Departmental Pay

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years for which information is available; what proportion of the total work force they represented; what the total amount of bonuses paid was; what the largest single payment was; and if he will make a statement. [300284]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: An element of the Ministry of Defence overall pay award is allocated to non-consolidated variable pay related to performance. Non-consolidated variable pay awards are funded from within existing pay bill controls, and have to be re-earned each year against pre-determined targets and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs.

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For details on the maximum and average payments for staff in the senior civil service (SCS) I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Leech) on 26 January 2010, Official Report, column 796W. These are also the maximum payments made to any MOD civil servant. In 2006-07, 271 SCS staff were eligible for a non-consolidated performance payment, and 181 received one. In 2007-08, 266 were eligible and 186 received an award. In 2008-09, 268 were eligible and 187 received an award.

For staff below the SCS, performance awards are paid to those who meet the eligibility criteria. Higher levels of award are available for those who have contributed most to the business. These awards are distributed on the basis of relative assessment among peers and are designed to encourage continuous high attainment against stretching objectives. All MOD broader banded and Skill Zone staff below the SCS are eligible for a non-consolidated performance payment. The majority of MOD civilian staff earn less than £20,000 per year.

The MOD also operates an in-year non-consolidated payment scheme-the Special Bonus Scheme-which rewards eligible MOD civilians for exceptional performance in a specific task or for the achievement of a professional qualification, the use of which benefits MOD and the individual. Additionally Ministry of Defence police officers may be awarded a payment for exceptional performance when dealing with particularly demanding, unpleasant or important one-off tasks or situations.

The following tables detail how many people received a non-consolidated performance related pay award (both in year and end of year), and the proportion of the total work force they represented, for the five most recent financial years.

Number of staff receiving a bonus payment

Performance award Special bonus
















Proportion of the work force receiving an award

Performance award Special bonus
















Note: The criteria for awarding performance-related pay have changed significantly during the period 2004-05 to 2008-09. It is therefore difficult to make direct comparisons of the annual figures although the trend has been towards more civil servants receiving smaller individual performance related payments.

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