HC Deb 03 May 1994 vol 242 cc437-8W
Mr. Meacher

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what were the results of the cost-benefit analysis his Department has carried out to assess the relative costs and benefits of central provision of advice and training to all Government Departments on fire precautions compared with employing consultants to provide comparable advice and training;

(2) if it is his intention to end his Department's provision of free advice and training to other Departments on fire precautions and standards;

(3) what consultation process was followed between his Department and other Government Departments over the intention to withdraw from them the advice and training at present provided by the Department of Environment fire branch.

Mr. Baldry

My Department will continue to provide central guidance on fire protection standards for Government buildings and on procedures for the management of fire safety. But individual Departments are responsible for protecting the buildings which they occupy against fire hazards. They are best placed to decide on the most cost-effective means of obtaining advice about measures to be adopted in particular buildings and about training, whether from in-house staff or consultants. It is therefore appropriate that they should in future take on these responsibilities. Departments were advised on 25 April of the proposed changes; and invited to contribute their views to a review to be carried out on how best to provide my Department's continuing services.