HC Deb 31 March 1994 vol 240 cc996-7W
Lady Olga Maitland

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about defence agency status for the Royal Air Force training group.

Mr. Hanley

The Royal Air Force Training Group is to be established as a defence agency of the Ministry of Defence on 1 April 1994. The training group is at present part of Royal Air Force Support Command but will become an integral part of Royal Air Force Personnel and Training Command with effect from 1 April 1994. It comprises a headquarters element at Royal Air Force Innsworth and various flying and ground training stations throughout the country. Together they employ some 6,000 service men and 2,500 civilians.

The primary role of the training group is to provide trained service men and civilians to meet the requirements of the Royal Air Force in peace, crisis and war.

As the first chief executive, Air Vice-Marshal C. C. C. Colville will be offered new opportunities to build on the current organisation's professional expertise and high performance standards. Through a more commercial approach, the chief executive will actively seek to improve the efficiency and value for money of his organisation and thereby fulfil the agency's aim of providing its customers with an efficient service which offers the best value for money possible.

The chief executive has been set the following targets for financial year 1994–95: Key Target 1: By 31 March 1995 to evaluate quality control mechanisms across all areas of training, including systems of measurement and targeting, and make recommendations for implementation during Financial Year 1995–96. Key Target 2: By 31 March 1995 to have achieved the planned Training Group elements of the rationalisation programme and to have identified, and set in hand plans to meet the Training Group capacity requirements called for in 2nd Order Assumptions. Key Target 3: By 31 March 1995 to deliver a 2.5 per cent. reduction in Training Group running costs by delivering the Lincolnshire Financial Year 1994–95 programme of efficiency measures. Key Target 4: By 31 March 1995 to undertake, the initial work required, for each measure, to market test £45,000,000 of business by 31 March 1996, as the Training Group's planned contribution to the Defence Market Testing Initiative. Key Target 5: By 31 March 1995 to identify and value the Training Group's fixed assets base and introduce an interim asset recording system as a first step towards an asset management system. Key Target 6: By 31 March 1995 to install, develop and test the Training Group Financial and Management Accounting Norfolk System at 2 pilot sites: Headquarters Training Group and Royal Air Force Finningley. Key Target 7: By 31 March 1995 to implement an interim accounting system at all Training Group units to produce Agency Accounts for mock audit by the National Audit Office at the end of Financial Year 1994–95.

I have arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of the House