HL Deb 10 March 1997 vol 579 cc10-1WA
Lord Marlesford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements have been made to consider the need for disciplinary action against officials as a result of events connected with the handling of BSE, what disciplinary action has been taken so far, and whether they will list those officials who have been dismissed or have taken early retirement as a result of such events.

Lord Lucas

The need for disciplinary action against any official as a result of the handling of BSE is considered in the normal way. To date action has been taken in respect of officials of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) which has responsibility for enforcing Specified Bovine Material (SBM) controls in slaughterhouses. The agency's staff are fully aware that they may face disciplinary action as a result of any failure to enforce these controls. To date, 45 MHS employees have been subject to disciplinary investigation as a result of failure to ensure full compliance with SBM controls. Four employees have been dismissed (one of whom was reinstated at appeal), 18 have received formal disciplinary warnings and 23 have received formal written cautions. One officer is still under disciplinary investigation. Before any of these staff are allowed to begin their work again they are required to undergo re-training.