HC Deb 06 March 2000 vol 345 cc486-7W
Mr. Menzies Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list(a) those targets of the RAF Training Group Defence for 1998–99 which (i) were and (ii) were not achieved, giving the factors affecting the outcome in each case and (b) action taken by the agency to improve target achievement performance in 1999–2000; and if he will make a statement. [111739]

Dr. Moonie

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Training Group Defence Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the right hon. and learned Member.

Letter from G. E. Willis to Mr. Menzies Campbell, dated 6 March 2000: I am replying to your Question to the Secretary of State for Defence about the RAF Training Group Defence Agency performance against its 1998–99 Key Targets as these matters fall within my responsibility as Chief Executive of the Agency. The Agency had 4 Key Targets which were published in the Training Group Defence Agency Annual Report and Accounts 1998–1999, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House. Key Target 1—Quality of Product. This target is concerned with the achievement of customer satisfaction with the quality of graduate trainees, as reflected in Customer Advisory Committee reports to the Air Officer Commanding in-Chief. The specific target for 1998–99 was the development of a quality monitoring system by 31 March 1999, which was achieved. Key Target 2—Efficiency. The target was to deliver the savings that accrue from the efficiencies planned for FY 98–99. The requirement for 1998–99 was a saving of £10.042M. The actual savings made of £11.529M means this target was also achieved. Key Target 3a—Quantity of Output (Flying Training). This target concerns the percentage of trained personnel delivered against RAF requirements. The target set for 1998–99 was 96.0%. The actual achievement was 78.8%. Full output was only achieved in the case of Air Engineers. The reasons for shortfalls in other areas of flying training were as follows: Fast jet pilots—operational commitments, which took qualified flying instructors away from the flying training task and a temporary problem with aircraft serviceability were the main factors. Multi engine pilots—student numbers had to be reduced because a backlog was developing due to the delayed delivery of the C130J impacting on the ability of the front line to absorb newly trained pilots. Rotary Wing pilots—a shortfall arose as the failure rate of trainees was slightly higher than forecast. Navigators—a temporary instructor shortage and poor weather resulted in the cancellation of one course. Additionally, some navigator recruits were switched to pilot training during their Initial Officer Training to meet increased demand for pilots. Airmen Aircrew disciplines—insufficient recruits to meet the full requirements. Key Target 3b—Quantity of Output (Ground Training). This target also concerns the percentage of trained personnel delivered against RAF requirements. The target set for 1998–99 was 97.0%. The actual achievement was 96.3%. The shortfall was due to recruitment difficulties in certain trades, most notably the RAF Regiment. Key Target 4—Development of Output Costings and Unit Cost Measures. This target covered the need to provide full output costings and associated unit cost and efficiency measures for the Agency by FY 00–01. The 1998–99 target which was to produce an Output Costing Model was achieved. You ask what action is being taken to improve performance. The remedial actions taken by the Training Group Defence Agency are as follows: All non-essential flying tasks cancelled to maximise the flying training hours available. Management action has increased the serviceability of aircraft and improved the provision of spares. The Hercules Multi-Engine Operational Conversion Unit's planned output is being increased to eliminate the backlog of students. The RAF Personnel Management Agency has addressed the availability of instructors. Recruiting strategy has been reviewed and as a result we are targeting populations where recruitment has been poor. In addition to the recruitment measures other actions to improve performance against Ground Training targets include pre-training course visits by potential recruits to the RAF Regiment Depot and the development of new training courses that provide the opportunity to gain Modern Apprenticeships. I am pleased to say that these are proving very popular with the recruitment of aircraft technicians. I hope that this is helpful.