Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs First Special Report





In its letter of 27 July 2000, the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee asked the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to update the Committee's "Live" Recommendations from Reports it has published in this Parliament. This memorandum is in response to that request.


The Committee has asked when guidance on Urban Capacity Studies will be issued and when the review of Planning Gain will be completed.

We intend to publish the guidance on Urban Capacity Studies in the autumn. On the review of Planning Gain, we expect to publish a consultation paper in the autumn.


The Committee has asked whether it is still intended that the Commission will publish an Annual Report and whether performance indicators will be introduced in order to monitor progress in achieving integration (recommendation bbb).

CfIT published its annual report on 28 September which reviewed Government progress in delivering on Integrated Transport White Paper objectives. CfIT undertook work on physical integration during its first year, though this concentrated on promoting the dissemination of best practice rather than measuring quality of delivery.

In the 10 Year Plan for transport (published on 20 July 2000) we set out (Annex 2) a range of targets and indicators against which the Plan will be monitored. To provide additional independent scrutiny, we have asked the Commission for Integrated Transport to report regularly on progress against the objectives and outcomes that the Plan sets out, and to identify what, if any, further policy measures would help to secure them.

In addition, the Committee has asked what progress has been made in respect of the following recommendations:

(ddd)  We recommend that a skills audit be undertaken to highlight any training needs for existing staff and any requirement for the recruitment of additional staff. Professional bodies and Government must work together to provide a suitable training programme which addresses any shortfalls identified by the audit (paragraph 233).

Recognising the Government's role in the dissemination of best practice a Good Practice Guide on the Development of Local Transport Plans was published in April 2000. It provides examples of good practice from the provisional LTPs in order to help authorities in the development of their full LTPs submitted in July 2000. Its publication was supported by regional workshops with authorities to disseminate the guide and to learn from experiences from the production of provisional LTPs.

Further good practice advice is planned. The details of its focus and content will be determined in the light of the first full LTPs, submitted to DETR in July.

Initial discussions have also taken place with the Institute of Civil Engineers on the role such a professional organisation can play in developing and promoting the new transport planning agenda at the local level.

(qq)  We recommend that all aspects of road policing are included in the aims and objectives set for chief constables by the Home Office. We were appalled that expenditure on these duties could not be assessed accurately. We recommend that the police revise their budgetary arrangements to allow spending on this area to be monitored properly. There must also be a comprehensive analysis of the costs and benefits of increasing spending on traffic policing in relation to the growing costs of congestion and the costs of injuries to the National Health Service (paragraph 202).

The Government's position on this issue is unchanged from that given in the response to the Committee's report.

(tt)  We are concerned that the necessary expansion of the network of speed limit, traffic signal and bus lane enforcement cameras might be constrained by inadequate funding. There are two alternatives for remedying this situation. Either the relevant authorities should be allowed to recover their costs by adding an administrative charge to the fixed penalty fine for offences detected by enforcement cameras; or the income raised from the existing fines should be hypothecated to pay for the administrative costs and for more cameras (on bus lanes, as well as elsewhere). The latter can be implemented immediately. We recommend it is (paragraph 205).

A new funding system based on netting-off penalty receipts from speeding and traffic signal offences has been developed and is now on trial. This followed preparatory work by the DETR led project group that includes the Home Office, Lord Chancellor's Department, the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Treasury, the police, local authority organisations and the Highways Agency. Pilot schemes to test the new funding system started in April 2000 in eight police force areas in England, Scotland and Wales. Only revenue from fixed penalty notices will be used, and not from fines resulting from court prosecutions. The netting-off arrangement is permitted by HM Treasury under the Appropriation Act. This allows pilots to run for two years pending the necessary legislation to formalise the arrangement. The pilots will apply to speed and traffic signal cameras only, now collectively termed "safety cameras". The project group and the consultants that are assisting it in developing the arrangements are monitoring progress of the pilots to ensure that the financial system satisfies HM Treasury criteria and the road safety objectives for the areas covered. The pilot areas are: Essex, Northampton, Thames Valley, Nottingham, South Wales, Cleveland, Lincolnshire, Strathclyde

The Committee has asked what progress has been made in respect of improved integration between different transport modes (recommendations (ww), (xx), (yy), (zz) and (aaa)):

(ww)  Many of the fundamental elements of good interchange are quite basic. Bus stops must be located close to railway stations. Accurate and easily understood timetable and fare information is essential. Bus and rail schedules and ticketing must be co-ordinated to enable passengers to make seamless journeys. Stations must be readily accessible for those travelling on foot, by bus and bicycle and in taxis. Secure parking should be available for bicycles, and for cars in areas where alternative forms of transport are limited. The provision of bicycle and car hire facilities should be encouraged at larger stations (paragraph 227).

(xx)  While the measures required to improve integration are well known, we doubt that sufficient mechanisms are in place to secure their implementation (paragraph 228).

(yy)  We recommend that local authorities and the forthcoming SRA are given, as a matter of priority, the necessary powers to compel operators to integrate their services where this cannot be secured through negotiation (paragraph 229).

(zz)  A simple ticketing structure with inexpensive fares is essential and tickets that can be used on the services of different operators and modes should not be undermined by those that are operator-specific (paragraph 229).

(aaa)  Final Guidance to local authorities about Local Transport Plans must make clear that Government funding will be related to the extent to which plans meet objectives for the improvement of integration, and payment of funds should be tied to the implementation of plans (paragraph 230).

Final guidance on Local Transport Plans (which are now to be statutory under the Transport Bill) was issued in March 2000 and was followed in April by further 'best practice' guidance 'Joining up the Journey' prepared for DETR by the Institute of Logistics and Transport. LTP guidance includes specific criteria for public transport integration on which plans will be assessed. Guidance also makes clear that confirmation of future indicative financial allocations are dependent on annual performance against targets and objectives set out in plans.

Four 'Centres of Excellence' have been established (South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Merseyside) to promote integrated public transport.

The promised measures are being taken in the Transport Bill to promote improved bus services, including better information and integrated ticketing, both with other bus operators and with other modes.

Bus and rail operators are working together, through 'Journey Solutions' to nearly double the current range of bus/rail ticketing "add-ons" to 200 locations by the end of the year.

Progress continues with the development of the integrated national public transport telephone enquiry service - 'traveline'. Call centres in most of England and Wales are operational and will be launched formally later in the year after an initial proving period.

On railways, the Franchising Director has asked those bidding for replacement franchises to set out their plans to improve integration with other transport modes, in terms of better access to stations by local public transport, by car and cycle and on foot. He also wants to see proposals for secure car parking, secure cycle storage and multi-modal ticketing including travelcards and smart cards.

The traintaxi guide - a private initiative - has also been launched, with Ministerial support. This guide helps those planning journeys by rail to know how to arrange a taxi at any station in the country.

National Cycling Forum Working Groups are actively considering matters related to combined bike/rail and bike/bus journeys, including cycle security issues. Their findings will be reflected in best practice advice.

The cycling charity 'Sustrans' hopes to develop "Safe Routes to Stations" in partnership with, amongst others, DETR.

A number of schemes awarded funding from the £17 million Rural Bus Challenge 1999 include specific measures to promote bus/bike integration. For example the Wiltshire Wigglybus, a flexible local bus service, has provision for carrying bicycles on the back of the bus.

The Committee has asked what progress has been made in respect of the following recommendations:

(l)  We recommend that the Government extend the 42 day period after which operators may de-register services to a minimum of three months. Operators and local authorities must then work towards a position where bus timetable changes are synchronised with those of the railways and take place on two fixed dates in the year (paragraph 96).

(ggg)  We recommend that the Government work towards a position where bus and train timetable changes are synchronised in order to improve integration (paragraph 235).

Following consideration of responses to the buses consultation document, proposals will be brought forward later this year for changes to the regulations on route registration. These will include an increase in the notice period for the generality of registration changes and also reflect the review, promised in the Ten-year Plan for Transport, of the requirement to give notice before a community-based service can be started or withdrawn. A number of local authorities have entered into voluntary agreements with bus operators to limit timetable changes to specified, fixed dates during the year. Guidance on Local Transport Plans (LTPs) refers to the need for better interchange arrangements and integration of services.

(uu)  the existing £20 fixed penalty for unauthorised use of a bus lane must be at least doubled in order to increase the effectiveness of the deterrent. We recommend that the licences of motorists found guilty of such infringements be endorsed (paragraph 205).

The public consultation exercise last summer which proposed various increases in the levels of fixed penalties for motoring offences in England, Wales and Scotland, revealed that there was general agreement about the main increases (for endorsable and non-endorsable offences) but differences of view on a proposal to greatly increase the penalty for bus lane offences [and about the existing differential between London and elsewhere]. The Home Office are not yet in a position to make clear decisions on those issues and have decided that the bus lane penalty will only receive a standard increase for the moment [and that the existing differential between London and elsewhere will remain for the time being]. This will allow an increase in fixed penalties in general to be implemented. Further consideration is being given to the level of fixed penalties for bus lane offences [and to the differential between London and elsewhere].

The new rate for non-endorsable motoring offences, including bus lane and parking offences, from 1 Nov 2000 will be £30 outside London, an increase of 50% on the current level.

(mm)  We recommend that the Government take the necessary measures to ensure manufacturers are required to design cars in ways which minimise the harm caused to pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision (paragraph 186).

We are currently awaiting the opportunity to examine the details of the European Commission proposal for a pedestrian protection Directive. We had expected the Commission to put forward their draft proposal earlier this year, but this proved not to be possible. We now expect the Commission to bring forward their proposal towards the end of the year. In the meantime, we are continuing a dialogue with industry on the issues.

(qqq)  Attractive alternatives to the car must be put in place before, or at the same time as, significant measures are introduced to restrain road traffic. This will require substantial investment. We recommend that local authorities be given the ability, subject to the necessary safeguards, to raise money for investment on the basis of the future revenue stream from the new charges, as soon as possible (paragraph 261).

We are working with local authorities that have expressed an interest in introducing road user charging or workplace parking levy schemes through our Charging Development Partnership. Amongst other things, the partnership is looking at how up-front improvements to transport might be made in advance of charging.

We are also undertaking a review of the capital finance system. In particular, we are looking at the possibility of allowing a local authority's level of borrowing to be determined mainly by its affordability to the authority, taking account of the authority's overall financial position. A Green Paper on our proposals will be published this Summer.

(s)  We consider that the Government's target for doubling the amount of cycling by 2002 and doubling it again by 2012 can be achieved. However, we doubt that there will be any increase in cycling until it is made safer. This will require local authorities to provide an extensive network of segregated and dedicated cycle lanes with particular protection at junctions. We recommend that the Government set up pilot projects to establish such extensive networks. It should make clear that creating cycle lanes by painting white lines on the road are not effective and will not be acceptable. Local authorities should liaise with local businesses to ensure suitable changing facilities are made available for those who cycle to work (paragraph 119).

Local Transport Plans require local authorities to build on existing efforts to increase the amount and safety of cycling. Local strategies should have clear targets that contribute to the national targets for increasing cycle use. In addition a two year contract to promote the main objectives of the NCS to key decision makers, for example local authorities or major employers, was let in April 2000.

Local cycling strategies should recognise that provision for cycling should be of good quality, to both attract and retain users. Traffic Advisory Leaflets continue to be produced when necessary.

In January 2000, the Department launched Travel Plan Resource Packs for Employers aimed at assisting organisations in developing, implementing and monitoring travel management strategies. A series of seminars to support the initiative is underway and scheduled to end in the Autumn.

In addition under the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme a leaflet raising awareness of new business opportunities arising as a result of the promotion of walking and cycling was published.


The Government's response to these recommendations was to launch, at the end of 1998, a review of the arrangements for transport safety and accident investigation, and subsequently to conduct a wide consultation. Lord Macdonald wrote to Mrs Dunwoody on 9 June this year to explain that Ministers had considered the implications for this work of Lord Cullen's inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, part of which is looking at rail safety management, culture and regulation. Not wishing to pre-empt Lord Cullen's work, Ministers concluded that it would be wrong to take a view on changes to the regulatory framework for transport safety before Lord Cullen reports.

Lord Macdonald therefore enclosed with his letter to Mrs Dunwoody a document describing the work to date of the Transport Safety Review, including the results of the consultation and the analysis undertaken by the review group. He emphasised that, for the reasons he had explained, the Government would not be taking a view at the present time on the merits of any of the options and arguments described in the document, copies of which were placed in the House Libraries.


The Regulator should use his statutory review in 2000 to ensure that more of Railtrack's profit is converted into investment to meet the objectives set by the SRA [and] The Regulator should be prepared to take even stronger steps to ensure that Railtrack is contractually bound to minimum levels of annual spending for the next ten years on capital investment, renewals and maintenance, and that this spending is properly directed. The Regulator should ensure full and separate publication of Railtrack's investment, renewals and maintenance spending (paragraph 143).

These issues are being addressed as part of the Regulator's current periodic review of the structure and level of Railtrack's access charges for franchised passenger services. The Regulator intends to finalise his conclusions around the end of September. This review ensures that Railtrack are properly financed to play their central role in maintaining and renewing the network, at the same time putting in place a new incentive framework to enable Railtrack to enhance significantly the railway over the next control period from April 2001 to 2006; and to fund the investment necessary to deliver the objectives of the Government's Ten Year Plan.

As part of this review, the Regulator will ensure that Railtrack specify clearly what they are required to deliver in return for the access charges they receive. Railtrack's 2000 Network Management Statement (NMS) details their investment plans for the maintenance, renewal and enhancement of the national network over the 12 year period from April 1999 to 2011. The Regulator has reviewed the NMS and concluded that it fails to provide sufficient clarity on maintenance and renewals for the next control period. He has therefore required Railtrack to submit by 15 September a draft supplement stating the levels of activity over the next two control periods to sustain the network on an efficient whole life cost basis.


The Government should within the next year study ways in which a fast link between [Gatwick and Heathrow] might be achieved; the options of a helicopter services (as operated from 1977 to 1986, when the M25 was completed) or dedicated bus priority measures on the M25 should be among those considered (paragraph 120).

Analysis undertaken for the Department, as yet unpublished, of the inter-airport interlining market in the London airport system observed that the market was small, and that there is a complex mix of reasons for inter-airport interlining. The most common reason, accounting for up to 40% of the market, as to allow stop-over in London for business or social reasons. The next most common reason, wishing to fly both journey legs with the same airline alliance for reasons of price, collection of frequent flyer points or brand loyalty, accounted for 30% of the market. This suggests that reducing the minimum connect time between Heathrow and Gatwick would not significantly affect the majority of inter-airport interliners.

The consultants concluded that a helicopter service might be commercially viable, but the fares to be charged would limit its appeal to business travellers. They also pointed to difficulties that the pre-1986 service had in handling morning peak demand and excess baggage.

The Government commented in its original response to the Committee's report that itis open to a commercial operator to bring forward proposals for a helicopter service between Heathrow and Gatwick. However, in doing so, it would need to take account of the policies set out in both SERPLAN's consultation document "A Sustainable Development Strategy for the South East" and the Surrey Structure Plan (First Alteration). In particular, the Surrey Structure Plan opposes aviation developments or changes, including increases in helicopter traffic, likely to worsen environmental disturbance in Surrey.

The consultants also looked at the feasibility of a bus priority lane on the M25. When this was studied in 1996, it was considered not to be financially viable. The updated figures used by the consultants suggested that if taxis and minicabs were allowed to use the lane as well, the financial case improved considerably. However, any question of a dedicated lane for airport traffic must be integrated with the overall strategy for making the most effective use of the M25. This is currently being examined in the M25 Orbital study, which will report by the end of 2001.

The Government must study the supply of, and demand for, air transport in Northern Ireland and address the concerns of its air transport users and operators (paragraph 119).

The DETR, working closely with the Department of Regional Development in the Northern Ireland Assembly, commissioned a report on the future of air transport in Northern Ireland as part of its series of regional air studies. The intention is that this will be the subject of public consultation in due course.


Where the causes of incidents which could have led to serious accidents are attributable to the incompetence or inadequate site knowledge of staff, Railtrack must take responsibility for the work of its contractors, and take action against them. Railtrack also should tighten its procedures for selecting and training its contractors. The monitoring of the work of contractors by Railtrack has not been good enough and the system of 'cascaded' safety cases needs to ensure that any sub-contractor is subject to the same controls as the main contractor (paragraph 71).

In view of the problems that have arisen from the increased use of Contractors to maintain the railway, the HSE should be much more active in monitoring contractors' work. It should make more unannounced site inspections and levy instant penalties for any breaches in safety regulations that it finds (paragraph 73)

In view of the risk of accidents involving Mark 1 rolling stock resulting in increases in deaths and serious injuries it must be replaced, rebodied or modified for use on franchised services by 1 January 2003, as recommended by the Health and Safety Commission (paragraph 75)

The railway industry is not doing enough to combat vandalism which is a very serious and growing threat to railway safety. In order to reduce both vandalism and trespass a three year programme to clear lineside debris and repair all boundary fences on the network should be implemented. A vandalism and trespass hotline should be established by the British Transport Police and Railtrack, so that incidents can be reported and responded to more quickly. A reduction in the number of police officers and Staff on station platforms and on trains leads directly to a decline in the safety of passengers. A more visible staff and police presence is needed, and is in the commercial interest of the Train Operating Companies and Railtrack (paragraph 78)

Lord Macdonald's letter of 9 June to Mrs Dunwoody provided a response to these recommendations.

There is considerable concern at the delays to accident inquiries or the publication of their findings caused by the pursuit of criminal Investigations into railway accidents. We recommend that the Government, as a matter of urgency, should investigate what procedures should be put in place to expedite criminal proceedings, to ensure that accident inquiries may be held as swiftly as possible (paragraph 80)

The relationship between accident investigations, inquiries and criminal prosecutions is one of the issues addressed in the Transport Safety Review, and covered in the document sent by Lord Macdonald to Mrs Dunwoody on 9 June. Paragraphs 4.29 and 4.30 of that document describe new arrangements piloted at courts in England and Wales, not confined to transport-related cases, designed to accelerate the processing of more serious offences to the point of start of trial. These arrangements are being rolled out nationally in January 2001.


We recommend that NATS should immediately begin to draw up plans to ensure that LATCC can cope with all of its responsibilities, with the minimum of delays, until NERC is finally opened. In its planning, NATS should have due regard to the safe operation of LATCC, minimising delays, and maintaining good morale amongst air traffic controllers and other staff. NATS should also begin to make plans to manage the transfer of other functions, such as MASOR and Terminal Control, to Swanwick, to prevent slippage in the dates of those transfers (paragraph 15).

Following Board approval, NATS recently announced that the New En-Route Centre (NERC) is to enter operational service on 27 January 2002. NATS management is confident that the existing Area Control facility at West Drayton will continue to operate in a safe and effective manner until that time. Small system replacements will be needed in other areas at West Drayton to overcome potential obsolescence and supportability problems. Some systems are also to be extended to accommodate planned resectorisations in the Terminal Control room.

The Committee will be aware that NATS has performed strongly over the past year (1999-2000). Delays attributable to NATS reduced by some 27% over the same period in 1998/99 whilst traffic increased by over 6% - to more than 2 million flights - in that period. NATS intends to continue to build on this performance throughout the period to the entry into service of NERC.

NATS are continuing to improve the flow of communication within the company and the staff were briefed on the day of the announcement of the operational date for NERC by both the Chairman and the Chief Executive. Feedback to the announcement has been positive. NATS management have stated that they recognise the importance of maintaining morale throughout the company and will continue to treat this issue as a high priority.

Planning for the later moves of MASOR and TC to Swanwick is underway.

We exhort NATS to ensure that the mistakes made at Swanwick, listed by the Audit Team in its report, are not repeated at the New Scottish Centre, so that it may open without further delay (paragraph 26)

Bechtel have been involved closely in the development of the New Scottish Centre project. From this experience, they have identified better ways of managing project activities within NATS, have introduced new techniques and delivered cost savings through improved working methods.

NATS appreciate that building on the lessons learned from the NERC project is vital to the success of the New Scottish Centre and to their Long Term Investment Plan. The company accepted the recommendations made in the DERA Report and jointly with DETR appointed Bechtel as project Managers for the New Scottish Centre project. Subsequently and with effect from 1 June 2000, NATS appointed Bechtel to take over the management of its Directorate of Programmes for a period of 2 years. Bechtel have been tasked with reviewing the Long Term Investment Plan, delivering major projects and setting up and improving its project management organisation.


We welcome the proposed investment in new communications technology brought by the Integrated Coastguard Communications System (ICCS) project, and look forward to the benefits it will bring. We do however urge the MCA not to be complacent about the introduction of new technology, which, no matter how well tried and tested, may throw up unexpected complications which could harm HM Coastguard's ability to fulfil its duties. Those using the new technology should be properly trained (paragraph 29).

Following the Government's announcement on the 12 August 1999 on the introduction of ICCS, the MCA is continuing its implementation, replacing obsolete analogue equipment with digital equipment. The contract for the supply of ICCS equipment was awarded to Securicor Information Systems.

As part of the detailed implementation plan, and in line with Lord Donaldson's recommendation that "the MCA should carefully monitor the installation of the ICCS to ensure that it delivers the expected benefits", the MCA installed the new equipment in a purpose-designed operational suite at the MCA's Training Centre in February 2000. The system has been thoroughly bench tested to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Project's Business Assurance Group as well as training operators, system managers and maintenance engineers.

The ICCS equipment for the Coastguard Co-ordination Centres at Clyde, Stornoway, Shetland and Aberdeen has been built and installations are underway, prior to the closure of Oban and Pentland. All operators will be comprehensively trained before the system goes live, and the MCA has recruited two additional trainers as part of the installation team to provide hands on training for every operator. No system will go live until the system is proven and the local operators are fully trained and competent.

The roll out began in May 2000 to facilitate the planned decommissioning of the Marine Rescue Subcentres (MRSC) at Oban and Pentland in October and December respectively. This will allow subsequent re-deployment of resources from these stations. In Autumn 2001, Tyne Tees station will close following the transfer of communications to MRSC Forth & Humber. This too will enable the re-deployment of resources to other stations. The planned installation programme is as follows:

The original planned installation programme Progress to date
ICCS Project Centre, 
MCA Training Centre
Installed FebruarySystem proven after full testing
MRCC ClydeJune - July 2000 System installed in July 2000 and is now fully operational.
MRSC StornowayJuly - September 2000 System installed in August 2000 and is now fully operational
MRSC ShetlandSeptember - November 2000 On course as planned
MRCC AberdeenNovember - January 2001 } "
MRCC LiverpoolNovember - January 2001 Subject to new building schedule
MRSC Forth*March- May 2001 Now planned to commence January 2001
MRSC Humber*May - July 2001 Now planned to commence February 2001

*Preparatory work has progressed sufficiently to enable the installation for MRSCs Forth and Humber to be brought forward.

Whilst we welcome the efficiency savings generated by reducing bureaucracy at the headquarters of the MCA, we have yet to see how the new Agency might deliver "better safety and environmental protection at sea", compared to the MSA and the Coastguard Agency acting separately (paragraph 49).

The merger has enabled the previous Agencies to work closer together than was previously possible, and in so doing to make the most efficient and effective use of available resources and to improve the services to its customers. The MCA Annual Report 1999-2000 was presented to Parliament on 20 July 2000 and highlights a number of areas integration is delivering on improved service . Those include:

  • a 24 hour contact point service for an immediate response about the range of MCA work including requests for ship surveys and ship registration: In the first year the service dealt with 2,500 calls covering all aspects of our work;

  • increased presence on the coast where Coastguards and other operational staff work together, providing for a more prompt and effective response to threats to people's safety and the maritime environment;

  • the training of Coastguard Sector Managers to provide inspections of fishing vessels, making better use of available resource;

  • the introduction of greater flexibility for Coastguard Officers, (using resource freed-up by ICCS) to allow a greater emphasis on accident prevention work and the extension of the Voluntary Code of Best and Safe Practice for Leisure Craft Users;

  • the relocation of management teams in headquarters and the regions and the increasing co-location of Marine Offices and Coastguard stations, to enable staff of different disciplines to work more closely than was previously possible;

  • an improvement in customer service standards against which the Agency's performance is closely monitored and reported;

  • "job shadowing" by Coastguards and Marine Surveyors to facilitate a better understanding of each other's role;

  • the engagement of administrative staff in support of surveyors on inspections and in conducting of visual spot checks of local small passenger vessels to enable surveyors to take follow up action as appropriate;

  • improving career paths for all professional staff, thereby improving job satisfaction, experience and efficiency (so whatever the discipline in which someone enters the MCA, be that Surveyor, Coastguard or Administrator, there are opportunities to change discipline at any stage throughout a career in the Agency).

We recommend that the management of the MCA,¼should encourage open debate about legitimate matters of concern, which would better inform their decisions, and bolster morale within the Agency. We further recommend that the Government should be vigilant to ensure that management dose not unnecessarily inhibit comment by staff. HM Coastguard is a uniformed service, which may affect management's attitude to staff. We recommend that the need to wear uniform, particularly within maritime rescue co-ordination centres, the training centre and headquarters, should be reviewed." (paragraph 59).

The Agency has achieved Investor in People (IiP) accreditation. Inter alia, IiP places great emphasis on open communication. The senior management structure established in 1999 provides an open door policy to allow staff to voice their opinions and concerns. A new staff charter is in the course of development, which will also encourage staff to air their views.

The Agency Chief Executive regularly visits all Coastguard Stations and Marine Offices, with each visited at least once a year, to give a presentation to the staff on the Agency's aims, objectives and targets and on any forthcoming changes which might impact on staff. The presentations are followed by a general discussion to give staff the opportunities to discuss the issues raised.

A Staff Communications and Attitude survey was undertaken in Autumn 1999. Areas covered by the survey included:

  • Communication, where most employees consider that communications within the Agency are satisfactory;
  • Management Style, where overall the trend suggested reasonable satisfaction with management;
  • Job Satisfaction, where the conclusion was that there is a reasonably high level of job satisfaction.

The results were made available to all staff and actions are being addressed and further more specific surveys are planned. The Agency now plans to undertake smaller more specific surveys where further work was needed to address areas of concern so that it has the necessary Quality Management System to meet the requirements of ISO 9001:2000.

On the recommendation that the need to wear uniform should be reviewed, there is no change to the Government's response dated 12 August 1999. It was stated at that time there remained no need for a review of wearing the Coastguard uniform.

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