HC Deb 30 January 1995 vol 253 cc463-5W
Mr. Kaufman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out for each of the next steps agencies in his Department, whether they have acquired their own headquarters buildings and, if so, at what purchase cost or annual rental; how many support staff they have required which were not required when their operations were within his Department; how many of them publish periodical journals and at what annual cost; how many have fleets of executive cars or single executive cars and at what annual cost; how many have corporate clothing and at what cost; and what is the cost of specially designed and printed corporate stationery.

Sir Paul Beresford

There are five next steps agencies within the Department of the Environment:

  • The Building Research Establishment
  • The Buying Agency
  • The Planning Inspectorate
  • The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
  • The Securities Facilities Executive

Responsibility for the subject matter of the question has been delegated to the chief executive of each agency. I have asked each of them to reply to the right hon. Member in respect of their own agency.

The Secretary of State for the Environment is also responsible for Ordnance Survey, a separate Department and next steps agency. I have also asked its chief executive to reply to the right hon. Member.

Letter from R. G. Courtney to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 30 January 1995: I have been asked by the Secretary of State for the Environment to reply to this PQ in respect of the Building Research Establishment. The relevant information is: BRE's headquarters are unchanged since becoming an Executive Agency. Devolution of personnel, finance and estates responsibilities from DOE and PSA has led to the creation of four additional posts at Grade 7 and above; overall, however, support staff numbers have fallen by 30. The BRE Annual Review has not changed in style. The cost of preparing the 1994 Review was £49k (including staff costs). BRE's use of cars is unchanged; the annual cost of its two cars in 1993/4 was £14.6k. The BRE logo has not changed. BRE does no provide corporate clothing. BRE's stationery was redesigned in 1994 at a cost of £3.36k because the previous stationery referred to a site that was closed.

Letter from S. P. Sage to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 30 January 1995: The Secretary of State for the Environment has asked me to reply to your Question about various items of expenditure incurred by The Buying Agency (TBA), one of DOE's executive agencies. The details are as follows: TBA remains in the same premises it occupied prior to agency status in 1991. TBA staff numbers have varied only slightly since becoming an agency. In 1991 they averaged 105; in 1995 they will average 110. We publish newsletters to TBA's 10,000 customers and suppliers three times a year. In 1994 the cost was £20,000. The newsletters provide an update on goods and services available through TBA. We operate 13 lease cars for our network of national and regional account managers. In 1994 the cost was £75,000. Following its launch as an agency TBA modified the logo used by its parent, The Crown Suppliers. There was no development cost. Each member of staff has a TBA tie (men) or scarf (ladies). The cost for design and printing these was about £1,000. On becoming an agency TBA modified its stationery in line with its logo. Again there was no development cost.

Letter from C. Shepley to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 30 January 1995:

  1. 1. The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to this Parliamentary Question insofar as it relates to the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency.
  2. 2. In the Planning Inspectorate we have incurred no expenditure on most of the items you refer to. Specifically, we have not acquried our own buildings; we do not publish a journal; we do not have executive cars; and we do not have a specially designed logo, corporate clothing or corporate stationery as a result of changing to Agency status.
  3. 3. The question of support staff is more difficult to answer with precision because a number of functions have been transferred to us by the Department and some of the requirements relating to those functions have since changed. Wherever possible we have carried out these functions with fewer staff than had previously been deployed by the Department for the same tasks. For example our typing unit consists of 8 staff in Bristol and replaced previous arrangements which utilised significantly more staff located away from our Headquarters building. In total we have taken on 31 staff for such tasks—mainly in the typing, personnel and finance areas. This has provided us with more immediate higher quality support services, with increased accountability for the actions they take. Over the period from the launch of the Agency in April 1992 staff numbers in comparable terms have fallen from 649 to 585 despite the arrival of the additional staff.

Letter from Marcus C. Buck to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 24 January 1995: I have been asked to reply on behalf of The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) to the range of questions you have asked of Next Steps Agencies in Question 866.

  1. (I) The QEIICC Executive Agency occupies the conference centre building at the discretion of the Secretary of State for the Environment. Since 1993–94 it has paid an annual rent of £6.4 million.
  2. (II) Being a purpose-built conference centre, the QEIICC's operations did not exist prior to the completion of the building in 1986. No staff figures exist within the QEIICC prior to its launch as an Executive Agency in 1989. However the number has reduced from 68 in July 1990 to 64 in January 1995.
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  4. (III) The QEIICC is required to produce an Annual Report and Accounts each year. The most recent—that for 1993–94—cost £11,000.
  5. (IV) The QEIICC has no executive cars.
  6. (V) The QEIICC's logo was designed in-house at no cost.
  7. (VI) Approximately half of the QEIICC's staff (those working on events) wear uniforms. The 1994–95 annual budget for uniforms is £6,000.
  8. (VII) The QEIICC's 1994–95 annual budget for corporate stationery is £22,000. This covers letter-headed and continuation paper, envelopes delegate writing pads and pencils, business cards, job application forms, performance assessment forms, three-part invoices, cheques and remittance advice.

Letter from John King to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 25 January 1995: You have asked the Secretary of State for Environment for information about the Next Steps Agencies in his Department. My reply deals exclusively with the Security Facilities Executive (SAFE). The information which you have asked for is given below: SAFE does not have its own headquarters building. It shares its HQ accommodation with other Government Departments. A similar number of support staff are employed in the Agency compared with when it was part of DOE. No periodical journals are published by the Agency. The Agency does not have any executive cars for senior staff. Our new logo was designed to coincide with the launch of the Agency, and is used on brochures, presentation packs tender documents and corporate stationery. The cost of the new logo cannot be separately identified. The Agency does not have corporate clothing. However, drivers from the Government Car Service, the InterDespatch Service and Custody guards have always had their own uniforms. The only change has been that the drivers now wear ties incorporating the Agency logo. The cost of designing new stationery for the Agency was £13,855 plus VAT. This included all general and financial stationery used in dealing with our customers. The cost of the initial print run was £8,054 plus VAT.

Letter from David Rhind to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 23 January 1995: The Secretary of State for the Environment has asked to reply to your question about the additional costs attributable to the establishment of Ordnance Survey as an Executive Agency. Ordnance Survey has always been and remains a department in its own right and the move to operation on Next Steps Agency lines did not of itself incur new or additional costs. The answers to the specific parts of your question are as follows: Ordnance Survey occupies the same headquarters building that it occupied prior to becoming an Executive Agency; no additional support staff were required; Ordnance Survey continues to publish an Annual Report (with Trading Accounts) and a Corporate Plan; no fleets of executive cars or single executive cars have been purchased; the Ordnance Survey logo has not changed since becoming an Executive Agency; Ordnance Survey does not use corporate clothing; stationery costs have not varied as a result of the change to Executive Agency status. I hope the foregoing provides all the information you need.