HC Deb 01 April 2003 vol 402 c689W
Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 6 March 2003,Official Report, column 1203W, on Getting Ahead of the Curve, if he will estimate the short-term transitional costs in establishing the Health Protection Agency; how these costs will be incurred; and what proposals he has to cut services to meet these costs from within existing resources. [103819]

Ms Blears

There have been and will continue to be some transitional costs.

Initial set-up costs

These comprise largely the costs of a small implementation team and the input of the constituent organizations, which will form the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

These costs, which are in the region of 400,000 to 500,000, have been met from the funding of the organizations moving into the HPA. As staff contributed from a wide range of specialisms, there has been no loss in outputs.

Short to medium term transitional costs

These comprise the establishment of a small separate headquarters for the corporate functions of the HPA pending rationalization of the HPA estate. The cost will be in the region of £500,000 to £600,000 per annum; and

the possibility of a small number of redundancies if—following the application of the change management protocol for filling posts—some staff are left without jobs. This is difficult to quantify at present as organizational structures have not yet been established.

These will be funded from the HPA's allocation from the Department and also underspends/surpluses in 2003–04, which will be rolled forward across the first two to three years of the HPA.

Underspends of almost £3 million revenue and £2.5 million capital have been identified within the organizations which will be subsumed into the HPA; the Public Health Laboratory Service, the National Radiological Protection Board and the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR). This is almost entirely slippage of programmes; there have been no cut backs. In addition CAMR has had a very successful trading year, which has resulted in a cash surplus of £5 million to put towards transitional costs.