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Alongside this voluntary approach, which extends existing good practice in the industry, I believe there is
also a case for introducing a mandatory requirement for those posts which present the highest risks, such as those with specific security responsibilities (and which are already subject to a counter-terrorism check). However, before such a requirement can be put in place, there remain a number of legal and practical challenges to be overcome. These include identifying an effective means of dealing with the variability of international criminal records systems and documentation, and developing an approach which does not have undue implications for the ongoing efficiency and security of industry operations.
I have therefore asked my Department to begin immediate discussions with employers and employees in the industry to agree a workable and effective approach to introducing such a requirement, with a view to implementation by the end of the year. In line with Stephen Boys Smiths recommendation, I would expect this to apply to new applicants for these posts, as employers can assess the integrity of existing employees in other, more effective ways.
Over the longer term, as the exchange of information between countries becomes more efficient, it may be appropriate to extend this requirement to other posts. I note here also the statement made on 16 July by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary about Sir Ian Magees review of criminality and the potential for overseas information to be more readily available to UK criminal record offices.
Finally, I agree with the view that whilst there should be some rebalancing of priorities between physical and personnel security activity, this should not result in a weakening of physical security programmes.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly): I am publishing today details of the number of, and cost to Departments of the provision of, allocated cars and drivers by the Government Car and Despatch Agency to Ministers during 2007-08.
|Department||No of Cars||Contracted Cost||Notes|
(1)The Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs was a post held jointly between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). The Government Car Service (GCS) costs were met by BERR.
(2)The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Trade and Consumer Affairs was a post held jointly between the Department for International Development (DFID) and BERR. The GCS costs were met by DFID.
(3)Cabinet Office figures include cars for Ministers in the Cabinet Office, the Prime Ministers Office and the Minister for the Olympics.
(4)The Minister of State for Borders and Immigration was a post held jointly between the Home office and HM Treasury. The GCS costs were met by the Home Office.