Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"

Written Question
Cobra
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether COBRA has met since 16 September 2021 to discuss fuel supply shortages.

Answered by Michael Ellis

As a matter of policy, the government does not comment on COBR meetings.

With respect to the fuel crisis more generally, the Government acted swiftly to respond to the rapid increase in demand for fuel (observed from 24 September 2021) which caused shortages at forecourts around the UK. Regular ministerial and senior officials' meetings were convened, both before and after the peak in demand. These meetings were all supported by data feeds collated by departments that informed Government of consumer demand, forecourt stock levels, fuel delivery capabilities and other key metrics.

The government has tried and tested plans in place to manage fuel supply. The Government implemented a range of timely measures to resolve the situation, including deployment of military drivers to staff the Reserve Tanker Fleet, the activation of the Downstream Oil Protocol, the relaxation of drivers’ hours regulations and the roll out of short-term visas so that haulier firms could source trained drivers from overseas.


Written Question
Civil Servants: Dual Jobholding
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many serving civil servants are also employed by or on behalf of another employer.

Answered by Chloe Smith

On 23 April, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the management of outside interests in the Civil Service. The Committee published this letter on 26 April. It can be found here:

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5623/documents/55584/default/

The Cabinet Secretary’s letter sets out a series of steps to improve processes. This programme of work will also take account of any recommendations that emerge from Nigel Boardman’s review.

The Civil Service Management Code sets out, at paragraph 4.3.4, the requirement that civil servants must seek permission before accepting any outside employment which might affect their work either directly or indirectly. The applicable principles are those set out in the Business Appointment Rules. The Civil Service Management Code is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-servants-terms-and-conditions .

Where the civil servant is a member of the departmental board any outside employment, as well as other relevant interests will be published as part of the Annual Report and Accounts or other transparency publication.


Written Question
Cabinet Office: Written Questions
25 Mar 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason Question 164350 tabled by the Rt Hon Member for Warley on 8 March 2021 has not received an answer; and when he plans to answer that Question.

Answered by Chloe Smith

I apologise for the delay in responding to the question raised by the Rt Hon. Member. I refer him to the answer given to PQ164350 on 25 March 2021.


Written Question
10 Downing Street: Repairs and Maintenance
25 Mar 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Cabinet Secretary was consulted on the financing of the recent refurbishment of No. 10 Downing St.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The Downing Street complex is a working building, as well as containing two Ministerial residences. As has been the case under successive administrations, refurbishments and maintenance are made periodically.

Works to the Downing Street estate are overseen by the Cabinet Office. It is not the practice of successive administrations to comment on which officials have been consulted or advised on matters.


Written Question
Government Departments: Internet
24 Feb 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to remove websites from search engines that appear to be from Government departments but are companies charging a fee.

Answered by Julia Lopez

Further to the answer to PQ59372 on 22 June 2020, Government Departments have a number of processes in place to ensure users seeking information from Government Departments, including on search engines, are not diverted to fee-charging and misleading websites.


Written Question
Public Sector: Procurement
9 Feb 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The end of the Transition Period provides an historic opportunity to overhaul our outdated public procurement regime. Cabinet Office undertook an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement during 2019 to identify where improvements could be made and the recently published Green Paper Transforming Government Procurement shapes those findings into concrete proposals.


Written Question
Remembrance Day: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will urgently co-ordinate advice on the management of services and parades on Remembrance Sunday to assist local councils, the police, the Royal British Legion and other service and uniformed organisations in organising covid-safe events.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

Published guidance for local authority preparations for Remembrance Sunday can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-preparations-for-remembrance-sunday/local-authority-preparations-for-remembrance-sunday


Written Question
Census: Coronavirus
21 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the organisation of the Census.

Answered by Chloe Smith

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Please note that the UK Statistics Authority is responsible for delivering the Census in England and Wales. The National Records for Scotland and the Scottish Government are responsible for the Scottish Census, and NISRA cover the Census in Northern Ireland.


Written Question
Marriage and Civil Partnerships: Coronavirus
25 Jun 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to allow weddings and civil partnership ceremonies to recommence.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.


Written Question
National Security Council
23 Jun 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason the Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingency Committee was disbanded.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

The body referred to in the Hon. Members' questions was one of a number of sub-Committees of the National Security Council. Since July 2019, the National Security Council itself now consider matters relating to national security, foreign policy, defence, international relations and development, resilience, energy and resource security. This includes oversight of the National Security Risk Assessment. This administrative measure simply reflected a wider consolidation of Cabinet Committee sub-Committees.


Written Question
Electronic Government
22 Jun 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to prevent individuals seeking information from Government Departments being diverted to fee-charging websites.

Answered by Chloe Smith

Government Departments have processes in place to ensure users seeking information from Government Departments are not diverted to fee-charging or misleading websites.

We work to ensure that government information and services are correctly listed and rank highly in search engine results so that they are easy for people to find and identify as government information and services.

We also challenge sites that pay for prominent positioning in search returns, by reporting them to the relevant search provider.

If fee-charging websites are operating outside of legal boundaries, we will pursue site owners through trading standards bodies or legal challenge.

GOV.UK is the government's website and online brand. We take steps to ensure people can rely on it as a trusted source for information.


Written Question
Royal Mail: Pensions
15 Apr 2019

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of Capita's performance in administering the Royal Mail Pension Scheme.

Answered by Oliver Dowden

Following the transition of services from Royal Mail Group to Capita in October 2017, Capita’s performance fell short of expected levels. However, due to the close monitoring that has been in place through the governance arrangements, Capita’s performance has improved and is now operating closer to the contracted levels.

There is a robust governance framework in place that provides Cabinet Office with the relevant oversight to manage the contract. This framework enables Cabinet Office to monitor performance and continuous improvement but also provides an escalation route for any issues that may be encountered throughout the term of the contract. The Governance model includes an advisory board, called the Royal Mail Pension Scheme Governance Group, which is made up of representatives from stakeholders of the scheme including Union (on behalf of members), employer and Pensioner representatives


Written Question
Elections: Fraud
13 Jul 2017

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his oral contribution of 5 July 2017, Official Report, column 1151, how many of the 2394 alleged cases of electoral fraud since 2010 led to a (a) police investigation, (b) charge, (c) court case and (d) conviction.

Answered by Chris Skidmore

This Government is committed to creating a secure and clear democracy that works for everyone and, as part of this, wants to ensure that fraud is stamped out in elections. Any instance of electoral fraud is one instance too many.

The Electoral Commission publishes annual analysis of electoral fraud on their website. (http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/electoral-fraud/data-and-analysis?)

Further breakdown and analysis of information on electoral fraud is available in the reports.


Written Question
Electronic Government
17 Nov 2016

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to prevent third-party websites from reselling Government services by deception.

Answered by Ben Gummer

Copycat websites undermine trust in online services, and this government is committed to stopping them. We are taking action on three fronts.

First, we are taking action to shut down such sites and prevent them from appearing in search engines. We are working with search engine providers to ensure they implement their terms and conditions on copycat website advertising - this has helped to increase the click-through to official Government websites by 30%. Security teams in departments across government are also actively monitoring the internet for bogus sites, and taking action accordingly.

Secondly we are improving the consistency and quality of Government websites, so that consumers can recognise and trust official sources of information.

Finally we are working closely with other bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) and Which? to raise awareness of this issue and ensure action is taken where appropriate


Written Question
Cabinet Office: Procurement
30 Jun 2016

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will take steps to ensure that his Department's purchasing policies support British (a) industry and (b) agriculture.

Answered by Matt Hancock

The Government is committed to doing all it can to ensure UK suppliers can compete effectively for public sector contracts in line with our current international obligations. To this end we are seeking to ensure the huge purchasing power of government supports the task of boosting growth, and enables us to actively shape the UK market for the long term.

We are providing industry with visibility of up to £191bn of potential procurement opportunities across 19 sectors. In addition, we are working with businesses to identify and address any key capabilities needed to meet future demand; actively helping them to remove barriers and supporting growth through additional benefits that boost exports and drive innovation.