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Defence Medical Services: Blood Stocks

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The provision of blood and blood products to the Armed Forces is the responsibility of the Defence Medical Supplies Agency, which obtains all necessary requirements from the National Blood Service in England. Arrangements are in place to ensure that all anticipated requirements will be met. In extremis, the Defence Medical Services has a limited capability to draw blood from soldiers in theatre. No decision to commence military action has been made.

Titan and Trojan

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Ministry of Defence has ordered 33 Trojan and 33 Titan vehicles. We currently forecast that they will enter service in October 2005. A 25- year in-service life is planned.

Trojan and Titan will be assigned to Royal Engineer close support regiments. Vehicles will also be permanently assigned to the Army Training and Recruitment Agency (ATRA), the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster and the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) to facilitate both individual and collective training.

Trojan will replace the Chieftain armoured vehicle Royal Engineers (ChAVRE) and Titan the Chieftain armoured vehicle launcher Bridge (ChAVLB).

Defence Research Programme

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: The defence research community has been subject to major change in recent years. The public private partnership arrangements for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, which led to the formation of QinetiQ, and the establishment within the Ministry of Defence of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, coupled with a move towards increased competition in contracting for defence research, have required a major change in the management of the defence research programme.

A review of science and technology in defence, commissioned in 2000 by the Ministry of Defence's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Keith O'Nions, recommended the establishment of a new research management organisation to meet these challenges. This new organisation, called the Research Acquisition Organisation (RAO), comprising up to 80 technical and support staff, will be responsible for formulating a coherent research programme, drawing together the many requirements from across the Ministry of Defence, determining optimum procurement strategies and placing appropriate contracts.

The majority of staff working in this organisation are currently located in two Ministry of Defence buildings in Central London (Northumberland Avenue), although some research directors work from other defence sites across the country. This is clearly a sub-optimal solution if the organisation is to function at maximum effectiveness. Recruiting new staff has also been hampered by the lack of sufficient accommodation at a single site. There is therefore a strong business case for collocating all staff in the organisation in one location.

Following an extensive review, the existing Ministry of Defence site at Shrivenham has been identified as the most suitable to collocate the RAO, both from a cost-effectiveness perspective but also driven by the requirement for the new organisation effectively to interface with its many customers. Close contact with the Defence Academy at Shrivenham will also be of mutual benefit. Consultation with the trade unions on this proposal has now been concluded and no concerns were raised. Ministers have therefore agreed that the move to Shrivenham should take place and it is our aim to commence the move by September this year and that full collocation will be completed by March 2004.


The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they concur with the view expressed by David Edmonds, director general of Oftel, that the United Kingdom has the most competitive broadband market in the world (Trade and Industry Select Committee, 4 February 2003); and, if so, on what criteria their assessment is based.[HL1838]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The UK online annual report 2002 contained the most recent assessment that the Government have

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made. This assessment was that at end August 2002 we were fourth in the G7 for competitiveness. The metrics used were developed with the broadband stakeholder group and include indicators of price, choice and the regulatory environment.

The assessment of competition in a market is a complex judgment. But by many measures, the UK is among the most competitive broadband markets in the world. As David Edmonds said, there are over 100 service providers using BT's wholesale products to provide services to consumers. In doing so, they face fierce competition from the cable companies. As a result, BT faces much more competition than incumbent operators in other major markets. Whereas BT's share of the retail broadband market is just over 20 per cent, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Telecom Italia have 90 per cent, 80 per cent and 75 per cent of the German, French and Italian retail markets respectively.

In terms of price, Oftel's latest benchmarking report (December 2002) showed that prices for residential customers in the UK were similar to prices in the US and Germany and cheaper than in France. Only in Sweden were prices lower than in the UK. For basic business services, the UK was cheaper than all the other countries considered.

Mathematics Education

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they propose to set up a national academy of teachers of mathematics as proposed by the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education.[HL1800]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The department is currently considering the recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education in its first Report Continuing Professional Development for teachers of mathematics published in December 2002.


Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the cost per head of providing courses arranged through learndirect.[HL1806]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Ufi forecasts that the cost of a learndirect course in the 2002–03 financial year will be approximately £210. Ufi assumes that each learner takes just over two learndirect courses, which gives an average cost per head figure of around £485. These figures combine the funding available from the LSC and DfES.


Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 25 February (WA 29), how

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    many mentors under the Connexions system have been subject to completed criminal records checks.[HL1880]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Although Connexions partnerships provide us with the numbers of personal advisers they have recruited, they are not required to provide data on the numbers who have been subject to List 99 and Criminal Records Bureau checks. To do so would serve no purpose as it is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that personal advisers have been subjected to completed List 99 checks before they can come into direct contact with young people. Collecting information on the numbers checked would only serve to place an unnecessary burden on partnerships.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the contact between a mentor under the Connexions system and a pupil can take place out of school hours.[HL1881]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: It can. In a Connexions one stop shop, a community venue or via the Internet or telephone in those areas covered by the Connexions Direct pilot.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 25 February (WA 29), which institutions provide the courses Understanding Connexions and the Diploma for Connexions Personal Advisers, and what was the length of each course in weeks.[HL1882]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The national training programmes for Connexions personal advisers are Understanding Connexions or the Diploma for Connexions Personal Advisers. Both programmes are accredited by universities and they are delivered by the following 21 institutions:

The College of St Mark and St John (accredited by The University of Exeter); Nottingham Trent University; Canterbury Christchurch University College; St Martins College (accredited by Lancaster University); South Bank University; University of the West of England; University of Lincoln; University of Huddersfield; University of Luton; Young at Now (accredited by Nottingham Trent University); Havering College (accredited by University of East London); Liverpool City of Learning (accredited by Liverpool John Moores University); the College of West Anglia (Nottingham Trent University); DeMontfort University; Manchester Metropolitan University; Lifetime Careers—Bolton, Bury and Rochdale (accredited by Nottingham Trent University); University of Sunderland; University of Central Lancashire; Brunel University; Connexions Black Country (accredited by the University of Birmingham); Anglia Polytechnic University.

Understanding Connexions is predominantly a workbased learning programme equivalent to approximately 150 hours of learning. It includes five days of live training and a half-day action learning set. The current Diploma for Connexions Personal

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Advisers is delivered over approximately 10 months. It is a distance and reflective learning programme equivalent to 800 hours of learning and includes 17 days of live training. Successful completion gains points in the Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (15 points for Understanding Connexions and 80 points for the current Diploma for Connexions Personal Advisers).

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