HC Deb 01 February 1982 vol 17 cc8-9W
Miss Boothroyd

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will list the number of vacancies of engineering examiner staff in the quality assurance and standards division and indicate whether he is taking steps to increase the recruitment of such staff; and if he will make it his policy to recruit sufficient engineering examiner staff to enable all applications submitted by British manufacturers to be dealt with within six months;

(2) if he will list the total number of vacancies and the qualifications needed to fill vacancies in the quality assurance and standards division;

(3) if he will carry out a review to establish the extent to which British manufacturers are being placed in an uncompetitive position because of delays in getting their specifications and designs approved by the quality assurance and standards division;

(4) how many specifications and designs submitted to the quality assurance and standards division are still awaiting approval; and whether he will list those applications still outstanding in date order commencing November 1978, on a six monthly basis.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

There is one vacancy of engineering examiner staff, which I hope will be filled shortly. Examiners are required to have an engineering degree, or have passed the part 2 examination of the Council of Engineering Institutions, or have equivalent qualifications; also they should be chartered engineers. The policy has always been to match the staff resources to the workload, which is forecast by canvassing industry. The aim is to ensure that applications are dealt with swiftly.

It is not possible to measure the effect on the competitiveness of British manufacturers caused by delays in obtaining approval, but as approval is often a sales cachet, an efficient approvals service should help exports.

The number of applications of new designs of weighing or measuring equipment that were still awaiting approval

1 January 1979 1 July 1979 to 1 January 1980 to 1 July 1980 to 1 January 1981 1 July 1981 to
to 30 June 1979 31 December 1979 to 30 June 1980 31 December 1980 to 30 June 1981 31 December 1981
Awaiting examination 5 1 14 3
Under examination 3 4 2 7 2
Referred back 1 1 1 1
Total (45) 4 1 10 4 21 5