§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what factors have led to the Driving Standards Agency considering reintroducing the nine test day;
(2) under what authority the Driving Standards Agency undertakes pay negotiations;
(3) if he will list for each of the last five years the number of substantive driving examiners employed by the Driving Standards Agency;
(4) if he will list the reasons for the cancellation of the block booking facility for LGV/PCV and motor cycle driving tests;
(5) when the Vehicle Inspectorate intends to enter into negotiations with trade unions regarding their 1994 pay claim;
(6) what considerations underlay the exclusion of the Driving Standards Agency from the national civil service pay settlement.
§ Mr. Key
Responsibility for the subject of these questions has been delegated to the Driving Standards Agency under its chief executive, Dr. Ford, and I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter front G. Lobo to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 13 July 1994:The Secretary of State has asked the Chief Executive to reply to the questions you have raised about DSA's operations. I am replying as Dr. Ford is on annual leave.
PQ 2919/93/9478WYou asked what factors led to the Driving Standards Agency considering re-introducing the nine test day.At the recent Scottish Driving Examiners' Conference, some driving examiners suggested that the 3.35 pm test, the last one, should not be programmed in winter in some areas as it was often conducted in artificial (street) lighting. This in effect would reduce the current 8-day test day to a 7-test one during winter. In discussion, the Chief Executive made the point that there might be a case for considering this—subject to extra tests lost during winter being added to the summer programme. This could have the advantage of switching staff resources to be more in line with the seasonal pattern of test demand.
PQ 2924/93/94You asked under what authority the Driving Standards Agency undertakes pay negotiations.Authority for the Agency to undertake pay bargaining was given, with effect from 1 April 1994, under a delegated instrument issued by the Treasury in accordance with the Civil Service (Managemment Functions) Act 1992. The Civil Service Unions were consulted, in draft, on the delegation instrument.
PQ 2931/93/94You asked for the number of substantive driving examiners employed by the Driving Standards Agency in the last five years.The figures, as requested, at at 31 March for each year are as follows:
Number 1990 1,245 1991 1,196 1992 1,109 1993 1,036 1994 969
PQ 2936/93/94You asked the reasons for ending the block-booking arrangement for LGV/PCV and motorcycle tests.Please refer to the answer which the Chief Executive gave to you in his letter of 8 June.
PQ 2940/93/94You asked when the Agency intends to enter into negotiations with trade unions about their 1994 pay claim.We intend to commence negotiations soon.
PQ 2924/93/94You asked why the Agency had been excluded from the national Civil Service pay settlement.The Citizen's Charter White Paper and the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement on Civil Service pay (July 1991) set out the Government's view that wherever possible and within essential public expenditure controls, responsibility for pay and related conditions fo service should be delegated to agencies. The Government's view is that management decisions are best taken by those responsible for the delivery of the service, within robust strategic controls. Delegation of pay bargaining enables decisions to be taken by the Agency managers, rather than the officials in Whitehall. Those decisions better reflect an agency's particular circumstances. As one of the larger Agencies, delegation on pay bargaining was given to this Agency with effect from 1 April 1994.