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Written Question
Government Departments: Buildings
26 Jan 2022

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what Departments and locations are included in the affiliate cluster contract run by the Government Property Agency.

Answered by Michael Ellis

The information requested is commercially sensitive and therefore we are unable to respond to this question.


Written Question
Government Property Agency: Contracts
26 Jan 2022

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the affiliate cluster contract run by the Government Property Agency is due to expire.

Answered by Michael Ellis

The information requested is commercially sensitive and therefore we are unable to respond to this question.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Clinical Trials
22 Jun 2021

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to (a) honour and (b) make a statement to recognise the volunteers who took part in the covid-19 vaccine trials.

Answered by Julia Lopez

We appreciate there is a huge appetite across the UK to say thank you to all those involved in the successful vaccination programme.

The recently published Birthday Honours List 2021 includes a range of nominations for those who have played crucial roles throughout the COVID-19 effort. A number of people were honoured for their contributions tackling the virus on the frontline and in their communities, building on the nominations brought forward in the Birthday Honours List 2020 and at New Year Honours List 2021. We expect to see more nominations come forward across future Lists, however, there are limits on the numbers who can receive recognition via the honours process.

The Prime Minister announced that the Government will establish a UK Commission on COVID Commemoration to consider the appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives and to commemorate the service of all those involved in the unprecedented response. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.


Written Question
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman: Powers
10 Jun 2021

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's powers in respect of the ability to proactively investigate systemic issues arising in the benefits system.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman operates according to his powers in the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967. This includes investigating complaints made by MPs on behalf of members of the public about the benefits system administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. The current legislation does not include powers to investigate any issues proactively and ministers have no plans to introduce such reforms at the current time.


Written Question
Crown Commercial Service: Financial Services
7 Jun 2021

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Crown Commercial Service will assess in future, as part of its due diligence checks on companies wishing to join the Facilities Management Marketplace, whether they have financial links with supply chain financing providers.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) did not ask companies that are part of its Facilities Management Marketplace whether they have had financial links with (a) Greensill Capital and (b) other supply chain financing providers.

The financial assessment of suppliers who are part of the Facilities Management Marketplace is undertaken using Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) checks, amongst other internal checks. The Facilities Management Marketplace framework has three lots (lots 1a - c) of which each has their own D&B risk threshold that suppliers are required to meet. This is monitored by CCS framework management and commercial finance teams. Where suppliers fall below the minimum D&B credit rating threshold, further investigation is undertaken which may result in a Financial Distress event as per the terms and conditions of the framework.

There is no intention in the future to assess, as part of its due diligence checks on companies wishing to join the Facilities Management Marketplace, whether suppliers have financial links with supply chain financing providers.


Written Question
Crown Commercial Service: Contracts
7 Jun 2021

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has asked the companies that are part of its Facilities Management Marketplace whether they had financial links with (a) Greensill Capital and (b) other supply chain financing providers; and what assessment the CCS has made of the financial stability of those companies.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) did not ask companies that are part of its Facilities Management Marketplace whether they have had financial links with (a) Greensill Capital and (b) other supply chain financing providers.

The financial assessment of suppliers who are part of the Facilities Management Marketplace is undertaken using Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) checks, amongst other internal checks. The Facilities Management Marketplace framework has three lots (lots 1a - c) of which each has their own D&B risk threshold that suppliers are required to meet. This is monitored by CCS framework management and commercial finance teams. Where suppliers fall below the minimum D&B credit rating threshold, further investigation is undertaken which may result in a Financial Distress event as per the terms and conditions of the framework.

There is no intention in the future to assess, as part of its due diligence checks on companies wishing to join the Facilities Management Marketplace, whether suppliers have financial links with supply chain financing providers.


Written Question
Government Property Agency: Financial Services
7 Jun 2021

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government Property Agency will in future, as part of its due diligence checks on facility management companies it wishes to contract with, assess whether they have financial links with supply chain financing providers.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The Government Property Agency has not asked our facilities management suppliers whether they have, or have had, any financial links to Greensill Capital or another supply chain financing provider.

GPA's principal suppliers are government strategic suppliers; the Cabinet Office Market and Suppliers team closely monitors the financial health of these strategic suppliers and has regular discussions with their management.

GPA procurement processes are aligned with legal and commercial policy requirements. At the moment, there is no requirement to specifically enquire about company links with supply chain financing providers as part of due diligence.


Written Question
Government Property Agency: Contracts
7 Jun 2021

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government Property Agency (GPA) has asked the Facility Management companies it contracts services from whether they had any financial links with Greensill Capital or have links with another supply chain financing provider; and what assessment the GPA has made of the financial stability of such companies.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The Government Property Agency has not asked our facilities management suppliers whether they have, or have had, any financial links to Greensill Capital or another supply chain financing provider.

GPA's principal suppliers are government strategic suppliers; the Cabinet Office Market and Suppliers team closely monitors the financial health of these strategic suppliers and has regular discussions with their management.

GPA procurement processes are aligned with legal and commercial policy requirements. At the moment, there is no requirement to specifically enquire about company links with supply chain financing providers as part of due diligence.


Written Question
Parliament: Coronavirus
2 Jun 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what health and safety measures will be carried out to facilitate a full return to Parliament during the covid-19 outbreak of (a) staff, (b) hon. Members and (c) visitors; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Pete Wishart

In line with Public Health England (PHE) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance, the House of Commons is implementing numerous measures to facilitate Parliamentary Business and the eventual full return to Parliament of staff; hon. Members; and visitors when it is safe to do so.

Measures to promote social distancing on the estate include the physical re-arrangement of workspaces; installation of floor markings and provision of signage to encourage people to stay 2m apart. Additional measures have been implemented to facilitate frequent hand washing; support workers getting to and from the estate; move around the estate and use communal areas safely.

The comprehensive list of measures being implemented is contained within the House of Commons’ COVID-19 risk assessment and has been shared with people working on the estate.

Contractors working on the estate have implemented commensurate measures as part of their assessment of their own activities.


Written Question
Civil Service: Conditions of Employment
24 Feb 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what legislation under paragraph 5 of the civil service management code Ministers have undertaken to apply as if it were binding on the Crown.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The Cabinet Office works closely with all departments on many of the matters outlined within the Civil Service Management Code. All departments are expected to follow the instructions within the Civil Service Management Code when setting terms and conditions of Civil Service employment.

Paragraph three of the Civil Service Management Code outlines the authority delegated to Ministers in charge of departments.

Some legislative employment provisions are applied to Civil Servants. These areas, which include notice and redundancy, are as set out in the Civil Service Management Code and departmental policies.


Written Question
Civil Service: Conditions of Employment
24 Feb 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times his Department has used the right under paragraph 7 of the civil service management code to inspect and monitor observance of the civil service management code in the last three years.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The Cabinet Office works closely with all departments on many of the matters outlined within the Civil Service Management Code. All departments are expected to follow the instructions within the Civil Service Management Code when setting terms and conditions of Civil Service employment.

Paragraph three of the Civil Service Management Code outlines the authority delegated to Ministers in charge of departments.

Some legislative employment provisions are applied to Civil Servants. These areas, which include notice and redundancy, are as set out in the Civil Service Management Code and departmental policies.


Written Question
Civil Service: Conditions of Employment
24 Feb 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what functions have been (a) delegated to Departments and (b) retained by the civil service under the civil service management code.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The Cabinet Office works closely with all departments on many of the matters outlined within the Civil Service Management Code. All departments are expected to follow the instructions within the Civil Service Management Code when setting terms and conditions of Civil Service employment.

Paragraph three of the Civil Service Management Code outlines the authority delegated to Ministers in charge of departments.

Some legislative employment provisions are applied to Civil Servants. These areas, which include notice and redundancy, are as set out in the Civil Service Management Code and departmental policies.


Written Question
Codes of Practice: Sexual Harassment
3 Feb 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will amend the Ministerial Code to include what the steps that will be taken in the event that a (a) Minister and (b) Special Adviser is accused of sexual harassment.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The Ministerial Code makes clear that: “harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the Ministerial Code and will not be tolerated”. Sections 1.4 to 1.6 of the Ministerial Code sets out steps to investigate allegations of a breach of the Ministerial Code.

The model contract for Special Advisers and the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers sets out the standards of conduct expected of special advisers, and the disciplinary procedures that will be followed where necessary.


Written Question
Codes of Practice: Bullying
3 Feb 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to amend the Ministerial Code to include the steps that will be taken in the event that a (b) a Minister and (b) Special Adviser is accused of bullying a civil servant.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The Ministerial Code makes clear that: “harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the Ministerial Code and will not be tolerated”. Sections 1.4 to 1.6 of the Ministerial Code sets out steps to investigate allegations of a breach of the Ministerial Code.

The model contract for Special Advisers and the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers sets out the standards of conduct expected of special advisers, and the disciplinary procedures that will be followed where necessary.


Written Question
Cabinet Office: Pay
21 Jan 2020

Questioner: Chris Stephens (SNP - Glasgow South West)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is compliant with the requirement in section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code that time off with pay for safety representatives will not be set against facility time allowed under existing arrangements.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

Cabinet Office has an obligation to provide reasonable paid time off to recognised trade union representatives to undertake trade union duties. This includes paid time off for safety representatives as set out in section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code.

In line with the legislative obligation, set out in the Trade Union Act (2016), information relating to facility time for relevant union officials is published annually. Facility time, defined by that Act as including time off taken by a relevant union official (permitted by the official’s employer) includes, where this arises, under “regulations made under section 2(4) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974."

The Government recognises there are significant benefits to both employers and employees when organisations and unions work together effectively to deliver high quality public services, but facility time within the public sector must be accountable and represent value for money.