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Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the findings of the recent survey of the Inglis Barracks site, Mill Hill, of low level radiation. [68668]

Dr. Moonie: An environmental survey was started on 4 July 2002 at Mill Hill to check for radioactive contamination on land that previously belonged to the Ministry of Defence. The first stage was a walk-over survey with meters to check for any radiological activity. Only two small areas meriting further investigation were found. These were on the Barnet council depot/MOD boundary and in open space in the vicinity of Notting Hill Housing Group flats. The risk to the general public is considered very low and no immediate action or special precautions are necessary.

Starting on Monday 15 July, trial pits will be dug and bore holes drilled for taking soil samples. The results from analysis of the samples will be used to decided what remedial action may be necessary.

The survey is a precautionary measure following a previous Land Quality Assessment of the military site at Mill Hill that identified low levels of radioactivity in a small area in the centre of the site. This activity arises from the residues of luminous paint buried in the ground. Radium based luminous paint was commonly applied to items such as vehicle dials during the second world war as well as on a wider commercial basis for watches and clock faces up to the late 1960s. The MOD intends to remove the contaminated material from Mill Hill, as it has successfully done from other sites, such as the former Admiralty Compass Observatory at Ditton Park, Slough, now sold and re-developed.

The survey is being undertaken jointly by Barnet borough council and the MOD, working with Annington Homes, Notting Hill Housing Group and the Environment Agency. Residents are being kept informed through mail drops and a telephone help line. An on-site information office was open during the walk-over survey. The results of the survey work will be shared with residents.

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Phoenix

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the original estimated in-service life of the Phoenix UAV system that entered into service in 1999 was; and if he will make a statement; [68671]

Mr. Ingram: The Phoenix UAV system entered service in December 1998 with a projected in-service life of 15 years. The Watchkeeper programme, which will subsume the capability offered by Phoenix, defines the capability required of UAV systems to contribute to overall Intelligence Surveillance Target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) requirements for the next 30 years.

Individual components that make up the capability, such as air vehicles, will change to reflect developments in technology and will not be expected to achieve in-service lives of 30 years. The question of further investment in the Phoenix system and its out of service date is being considered during the current Watchkeeper assessment phase.

Agency Performance Targets

Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Defence Communication Services Agency for financial year 2002–03. [69782]

Mr. Ingram: Key targets have been set for the Chief Executive of the Defence Communication Services Agency (DCSA) for financial year 2002–03. The targets build on progress already made and are as follows:

Key Target 1 Service Assurance

To meet an average of 98 per cent. for measured services against the performance targets agreed in the Agency's CSAs.

Key Target 2 Service Fulfilment

To commission an average 95 per cent. of new service requests on, or before, the dates agreed by customers with the DCSA.

Key Target 3 Service Restoration

To restore an average 97 per cent. of interrupted services classed as Operationally Urgent within four hours of the fault being reported to the DCSA, or within other specific periods agreed with customers and to restore Business Critical services in accordance with agreed periods in the CSAs.

Key Target 4 Service Support

To achieve an average 88 per cent. success rate against agreed standards in response to demands on all DCSA Operator Assistance centres and helpdesk facilities.

Key Target 5 Customer Satisfaction

To achieve an average 75 per cent. of customers/users who express moderate or high satisfaction with the way they have been treated by the Agency and the subsequent services and support provided by the DCSA.

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Key Target 6 Efficiency Measurement

To achieve an improvement in efficiency by reducing the average unit cost of outputs by 3 per cent. per annum.

Key Target 7 Introduction of New Projects and Services on Time

The average cumulative slippage of in-service dates for new major projects is not to exceed 10 per cent.

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency for financial year 2002–03. [69928]

Mr. Ingram: The following key targets have been set for the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency for 2002–03:

Key Target 1

To deliver RN personnel to the trained strength (or to other training organisations) within 5 per cent. variance from the tasked requirement.

Key Target 2

To deliver RM recruits to Commandant General Royal Marines within 3 per cent. variance from the tasked requirement.

Key Target 3

To maintain success rates of 95 per cent. in Career Training and 97 per cent. in examined pre-joining training.

Key Target 4

To reduce the variance between RNR Trained Strength and Total Requirement to 28 per cent.

Key Target 5

To achieve, by 31 March 2003, a methodology for the implementation of an output cost based efficiency target.

Key Target 6

To achieve net benefits of £14 million in financial year 2002–03 from the partnering arrangement with Flagship Training Limited.

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Veterans Agency for financial year 2002–03. [69929]

Dr. Moonie: The Key Targets that have been set for the chief executive of the new Veterans Agency for 2002–03 are as follows:

Service

Key Target 1:

To reduce the average time it takes to issue decisions on claims to war pensions to no more than 82 working days. This is an improvement of eight working days on the Agency's 2001–02 target; and it represents a cumulative improvement of 18 per cent. against its 2000–01 baseline level of 100 working days.

Key Target 2:

To reduce the average time it takes to issue decisions on war widow(er)s claims to no more than 34 working days. This is an improvement of two working days on the

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Agency's 2001–02 target; and it represents a cumulative improvement of 5 per cent. against its 2000–01 baseline level of 36 working days.

Key Target 3:

To achieve an externally validated claims accuracy rate of at least 95 per cent.

Personnel

Key Target 4:

To carry out an externally validated programme of internal IiP assessments during 2002–03 to determine whether the Agency continues to meet the requirements of the IiP standards.

Working in Partnership

Key Target 5:

To work with the Lord Chancellor's Department's Court Service to reduce the average time it takes an appeal to pass through the war pensions appeals process. By 31 March 2003 the average time should reduce to no more than 310 working days. This is an improvement of 198 working days on the Agency's 2001–02 target; and it represents a cumulative improvement of 45 per cent. against its 2000–01 baseline level of 565 working days.

Efficiency

Key Target 6:

To develop a methodology for costing agency outputs to provide the baseline to measure any future years' business efficiencies.

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for ABRO as a trading fund for financial year 2002–03. [69930]

Mr. Ingram: The chief executive of ABRO, Michael Hayle, has been set the following Key Targets for the first year of operation:

Key Target 1:

Financial performance—Return on Capital Employed (ROCE). The measurement of ABRO's ROCE: to achieve at least a 6 per cent. average ROCE over the first three years of trading.

Key Target 2a:

Delivery performance. The measurement of Land (District) service delivery: to complete 95 per cent. of Land (District) Load tasks within the priorities agreed with the customer (Tech 3c).

Key Target 2b:

Delivery performance. The measurement of Programme service delivery: to complete 95 per cent. of critical Programme Load tasks within the times agreed with the customers (ES Land IPTs).

Key Target 3:

Efficiency—reduction in output price. The measurement of the reduction in price of ABRO output: to reduce the average equipment repair price, across the whole programme by 3 per cent. in the first year and by 12 per cent. over three years against the 2002–03 baseline.

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Key Target 4:

Winning work. The measurement of ABRO winning work: to deliver more than £4 million of competed work in each of the next three years, but with the intention to change an "order book" measure from year two onwards.


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