§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultation process has been carried out involving staff of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency on its future. 
§ Mr. Hoon
Following the announcement in 1998 of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), consultation has been an important and regular feature of the process.11W
We have consulted directly with staff on a formal and informal basis and also through trade union representatives, and will continue to do so.
The mechanisms for PPP consultation to date have included:DERA PPP Consultation Documents, published in May 1999 and April 2000, which invited staff, and other stakeholders to comment on the Ministry of Defence's proposals for a PPP structure.Regular senior management briefings.Team briefings conducted on a monthly basis by departmental managers.DERA News, a monthly in-house publication, which regularly updates staff on the progress of the PPP.DERA website, which again provides regular updates.Informal departmental briefings.
In addition to direct consultation with staff, Ministers have met on a number of occasions with trade union representatives to discuss the progress of the PPP. Officials have also met with union representatives on a regular basis to discuss their specific issues and concerns.
Following the announcement in the House, 17 April 2000, Official Report, columns 366-67W, we are now engaged in a period of formal consultation on our revised proposals for the PPP. A consultation document has been made widely available with comments invited by 9 June 2000. A copy of this document has been placed in the Library of the House.
During this consultation period presentations and discussions with staff and trade unions will also be arranged in order to address any issues and concerns regarding the PPP proposal prior to a final decision being made.
§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent consultation he has carried out with private sector defence contractors on the future of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. 
§ Mr. Hoon
Following the announcement in 1998 of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), consultation has been an important and regular feature of the process. We have consulted with a wide range of key stakeholders, including private sector defence contractors. This has focused on formal industry bodies such as the National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) and Association of Independent Research and Technology Organisations (AIRTO), although there have been direct representations from individual companies. Last year's consultation exercise on a potential PPP solution produced valuable responses, which have informed the most recent phase of work.
The current consultation exercise, which I announced in the House on 17 April 2000, Official Report, columns 366-67W, will give all stakeholders the opportunity to submit their views on our revised proposals for the DERA public private partnership. We also plan to 12W hold various consultation events with key stakeholders. I can assure my hon. Friend that views expressed will be taken into account before a final decision is made.
§ Mr. Simon Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of shares in New DERA plc he expects the Government to hold(a) on flotation of the new company and (b) as a minimum public holding. 
§ Mr. Hoon
At this stage of the public private partnership (PPP) process it would be premature to determine the extent of a Government stake in the NewDERA company.
It is however the Government's objective that the company would be floated on the Stock Market as soon as its potential is judged to be suitably developed, which could be during 2001.
Initially, MOD is likely to retain a significant financial stake in NewDERA to ensure that taxpayers receive full value for their investment. However, retention of this stake would not be a long term position.
§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans are in place to ensure that information on experiments and the welfare of animals held at DERA will still be accessible when DERA is part-privatised; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what plans are in place to ensure that the welfare of animals held at DERA for experiments will be protected when it is part-privatised; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hoon
Animal Welfare within DERA is conducted strictly in accordance with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 under which the Home Office licenses and oversees all such activity. These regulations, of course, apply to all private sector organisations, and will therefore continue to govern the welfare of any animals in defence research, whether in the public or the private sector.
Information held on defence research using animals within MOD will continue to be available as it is at present. However, subject to meeting all the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, access to information on any such research carried out by the new private sector company will be a matter for that organisation to determine.