HL Deb 29 September 2000 vol 616 cc199-200WA
Lord Grenfell

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the restructuring of the Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations recommended in the Strategic Defence Review has been completed. [HL3902]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations are now known as Reserve Forces' Cadets' Associations (RFCA) to better reflect their role. We can confirm that the implementation of the organisational improvements and efficiencies sought in the Strategic Defence Review is now complete—well ahead of the original schedule.

No changes were made to the organisational arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the administrative areas for which associations in England have responsibility now match those of the Government Office (GO) regional areas. To achieve this, the South East RFCA and the Eastern Wessex RFCA administrative areas, minus Dorset, have been amalgamated to reflect the South East GO region. Its responsibility extends to the Channel Islands also. It will be known as the South East RFCA, with a headquarters at Seeley House, Shoe Lane, Aldershot. The responsibility for carrying out the Eastern Wessex Association's functions for Dorset moves to the Wessex RFCA, whose administrative area will now reflect that of the South West GO region.

These arrangements will take effect from 1 October 2000, following the laying of the Defence Council's Reserve Forces Act 1996 (Reserve Associations) Order 2000. They are reflected in minor amendments to the RFCA Regulations, details of which will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. We have also agreed with the RFCAs revised or amended Schemes of Association. Following consultation with their trade union representatives, arrangements for those association employees opting for redundancy have been agreed. These are broadly in line with civil service arrangements.