HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc414-5W
Mr. Gordon Marsden

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what steps she has taken to ensure that proposed changes to the TUPE Regulations are taken into account in ongoing outsourcing negotiations; and if she will make a statement; [103715]

(2) what guidance her Department has issued to cover previously outsourced staff when contracts with private sector suppliers are (a) renewed, (b) renegotiated and (c) put out to tender on their expiry; [103717]

(3) what guidance her Department has issued on the inclusion in outsourcing contracts of penalties for failure to abide by the TUPE Regulations; what plans she has to vary these penalties following her assessment of performance by private-sector companies subject to the TUPE Regulations; and if she will make a statement. [103628]

Mr. Stringer

The Cabinet Office published on 5 July 1999, for public consultation, a "Statement of Practice for Staff Transfers in the Public Sector",Official Report, column 388W. The Statement of Practice sets out the Government's policy for the application of TUPE where the public sector is the employer or client in a contracting-out or subsequent retendering situation. These should be conducted on the presumption that the protections of TUPE will apply, unless there are genuinely exceptional reasons not to do so. This includes second and subsequent round contracts that result in a new contractor and should ensure that all staff involved are treated fairly and consistently and their rights protected. Employees or employee representatives who consider that their rights under the Regulations have been infringed may seek legal redress. The response to the public consultation on the Statement of Practice was extremely positive with strong support from public and private sector employers and employee representatives. I aim to publish a final version of the Statement early in the New Year.

The Department of Trade and Industry are currently conducting a review of the TUPE Regulations and will shortly be consulting on proposals for revising them. Changes to the regulations will be reflected in guidance to public sector employers.

Copies of "Staff Transfers in the Public Sector: Statement of Practice" are in the Library of the House.