HC Deb 31 January 1985 vol 72 cc399-400
3. Mr. Patrick Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will encourage local authorities to allow their civil defence volunteers to organise themselves into self-regulating bodies, appointing their own officers and responsible for their own training under proper supervision.

Mr. Giles Shaw

I do not think that such encouragement would be appropriate at present, but the optimum form of local organisation will be kept under review, and changes may be made in the light of the experience and views of local authorities and the advice of the co-ordinator of volunteer effort.

Mr. Thompson

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that it is urgently necessary to provide more help and guidance for training civil service volunteers, with better advice on organisation and administration? Does he further agree that we should encourage our civil service volunteers in the worthwhile public service that they undertake?

Mr. Shaw

I suspect that my hon. Friend is referring to civil defence volunteers, though improved training for civil servants may be an appropriate topic for conversation.

The Government have asked local authorities to take into consideration the role of volunteers in the plans that they should now be making to implement their statutory duties under the 1983 regulations. Increased training for civil defence volunteers will certainly be made available.

Mr. Weetch

Has the Department taken note of the way in which civil defence is organised in other countries? In a nuclear exchange, presumably the United States and the Soviet Union would be seriously at risk from each other. Has the Department made any examination of how civil defence is organised in those countries?

Mr. Shaw

I assure the hon. Gentleman that my department is well aware of the manifold differences in civil defence preparation in many countries; but in particular we look to western Europe for comparability, and we see a great deal of it.

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