HC Deb 11 February 2004 vol 417 cc1443-4W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people seconded to her Department from outside organisations are helping to draft Answers to honourable Members'(a) oral and (b) written Parliamentary Questions. [153913]

Alun Michael

Defra's Ministers see secondment and interchange as a key means of complementing the skill and experience of the civil service, drawing in expertise from such fields as business, local government and the voluntary sector as well as other Government Departments. This is assisting Defra's commitment to playing its part in developing a modern, flexible outward looking Civil Service that works in partnership with all sectors of society. Interchange is seen as a key tool in meeting this commitment. Defra continues to promote and encourage the interchange of personnel between the Department and range of other organisations.

Slaughter Premium Scheme (SPS)
County Amount paid (£) Claims paid Amount unpaid (£) Claims unpaid
SPS 2001 scheme year
Powys 949,142.78 4,067 1,966.90 133
Gwynedd 1,145,295.95 3,400 0 1
Dyfed 2,170,937.55 7,932 7,702.28 30
Clwyd 1,089,531.08 3,798 0 47
South Glamorgan 189,144.07 517 0 1
Mid Glamorgan 101,975.55 428 0 0
West Glamorgan 127,252.07 442 0 0
Gwent 347,648.32 1,220 68.98 2
Total 6,120,927.37 21,804 9,738.16 214
SPS 2002 scheme year
Powys 1,936,838.88 4,530 16,421.97 199
Gwynedd 1,902,937.06 3,211 2,309.23 170
Dyfed 4,111,194.14 8,152 10,058.93 320
Clwyd 1,863,821.23 3,422 16,700.55 131
South Glamorgan 286,707.70 441 134.54 9
Mid Glamorgan 202,331.81 437 288.30 15
West Glamorgan 229,556.44 416 809.64 16
Gwent 654,392.94 1,253 7,343.73 63
Total 11,187,780.20 21,862 54,066.89 923

The term "secondee" is used within the civil service in a more limited sense than the meaning used outside the civil service. In the civil service a secondee is a person "borrowed" from an organisation outside the Civil Service for a period of between three months, and three years (exceptionally five years), without affecting employment status. During the secondment period the secondee would remain an employee of the parent organisation but would be expected to abide by the Defra Staff handbook and the Official Secrets Act 1989. At the end of the secondment the secondee would return to the parent organisation.

Defra currently has 41 secondees from outside organisations. All are at Higher Executive Office grade and above. The secondees are appointed on the basis of the match of competencies and skills required for the post and in the case of the 41 formal secondees from outside organisations in Defra at present this may include drafting answers to PQ's. Although some details of the secondee and the parent organisation are held centrally, duties undertaken on a day to day basis would be a matter for their managers and are not centrally recorded. Detailed information could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate costs.