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Written Question
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Wednesday 30th March 2022

Asked by: Baroness Randerson (Liberal Democrat - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they first became aware of alleged problems with the employment terms and conditions at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; what steps they took to improve the level of service by that body; and when those steps were taken.

Answered by Baroness Vere of Norbiton - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government is not aware of any issues with the employment terms and conditions at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) which are in line with the rest of the Civil Service.

The quickest and easiest way to transact with the DVLA is by using its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. The Government understands the impact that delays in processing paper applications can have on the daily lives of individuals and the DVLA is working hard to reduce waiting times. The DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has opened new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham to reduce backlogs and provide future resilience. These measures are having a positive impact and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times for paper applications.

The DVLA also prioritised vocational licence applications to support the Government’s response to the driver shortage, and there have been no delays in straightforward applications for vocational licences, including renewals, since November 2021. The applications are being processed within normal turnaround times of five working days.

There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example if medical investigations are needed but the large majority of applicants will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.


Written Question
Disability: Employment
Tuesday 8th February 2022

Asked by: Vicky Foxcroft (Labour - Lewisham, Deptford)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken on (a) encouraging and supporting workplace disability networks, (b) achieving and maintaining the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensuring responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) developing and embedding flexible working.

Answered by Lee Rowley - Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

The Department has taken the following steps:

a) BEIS has an existing disability network which brings together colleagues with disabilities and long-term health conditions. The network is supported by a champion from the Senior Civil Service and has access to Purple Space, which is a professional development hub for disability network leaders.

b) BEIS was accredited as a Disability Confident Leader in 2017 and was successfully reaccredited in 2020. This was validated by Business Disability Forum (BDF) and the Department continues to work closely with BDF as well as the disability network to ensure that BEIS maintains the standards of a Disability Confident Leader.

c) Support is given at recruitment stage for reasonable adjustments or in the event of ill health during employment. We have specialist software readily available to support several different disabilities, policies that allow flexible working patterns, and access to specialist equipment.

d) BEIS has developed a wide range of flexible working practices that have been operating since our creation in 2016. A recent addition is the opportunity for staff to work in a hybrid way (a blend of office and home working).


Written Question
Government Departments: Vacancies
Wednesday 26th January 2022

Asked by: Kate Green (Labour - Stretford and Urmston)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many vacancies in each Government department are vacant due to a lack of applicants with the appropriate skills.

Answered by Michael Ellis - Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)

The number of vacancies in each government department currently vacant due to a lack of applicants with the appropriate skills is not held centrally.

Civil servants are employed by individual departments which are responsible for setting their terms and conditions of employment in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code. Departments will, therefore, be able to provide further information on the status of their vacancies.


Written Question
Ministry of Defence Guard Service: Career Development
Tuesday 30th November 2021

Asked by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)

Question to the Ministry of Defence:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 13 September 2021 to Question 45090, on Ministry of Defence Guard Service: Conditions of Employment, how many of the 20 applications were made by MGS staff seeking promotion.

Answered by Leo Docherty - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The Civil Service recruitment and selection process is anonymous. The recruiting Line Manager only gains more information on the status of individual candidates should they be selected for an interview. It is therefore not possible to ascertain the number of MGS employees who applied for promotion during the referenced recruitment campaign.


Written Question
Ministry of Defence Guard Service: Conditions of Employment
Wednesday 24th November 2021

Asked by: Stephen Morgan (Labour - Portsmouth South)

Question to the Ministry of Defence:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 13 September 2021 to Question 45126, Ministry of Defence Guard Service: Conditions of Employment, what conclusions were drawn from the comparative assessment of how OMEC contracts compare with those in the private sector security industry.

Answered by Leo Docherty - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

External benchmarking completed in 2019 concluded that the Operational MGS Employment Contract OMEC total cash package is between 7% and 32% higher than the equivalent private sector salary. This does not take into account access to the Civil Service defined benefit pension scheme.


Written Question
Ministry of Defence Guard Service: Conditions of Employment
Monday 13th September 2021

Asked by: Dan Jarvis (Labour - Barnsley Central)

Question to the Ministry of Defence:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what comparative assessment he has made of the (a) pay, (b) working hours and (c) other conditions of employment for civilian guards at UK military bases on (i) Operational MGS Employment Contracts and (ii) previous contracts.

Answered by Leo Docherty - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The pay, working hours and other conditions of employment under the Operational MGS Employment Contract (OMEC) have been compared against previous MOD contracts, as well as the private sector security industry. The comparative assessment has concluded that:

  • OMEC terms and conditions remain comparable with legacy MGS contracts in relation to conditions of employment, for example access to the Civil Service pension scheme, annual leave and sick entitlements.
  • OMEC offers an increased rate of basic pay for shift working employees per annum compared with legacy MGS
  • OMEC pay rates ensure promotion remains a viable and attractive option for those wishing to further their career.

While OMEC conditions are predicated on full time employees working a 48-hour working week (gross), compared with 42 hours (gross) on legacy contracts to accommodate a change in shift duration, the rostered working patterns developed were subject to Trade Union consultation and validated against Working Time Regulations.


Written Question
Home Office: Re-employment
Monday 19th July 2021

Asked by: Imran Hussain (Labour - Bradford East)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 27 April 2021, Official Report, column 86WH, on the Government's policy on the inappropriate use by some employers of fire and rehire as a negotiation tactic, what steps their Department has taken to (a) investigate and (b) discourage the use of fire and rehire negotiation tactics by their Department's executive non-departmental public bodies; and what steps they have taken to communicate the Government's policy on those practices to those bodies.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Government has been clear it expects employers to treat employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership, working with trade unions, where relevant, constructively. This applies to Home Office sponsored NDPBs as much as to any other employer.

Home Office sponsored NDPBs that employ civil servants must set their terms and conditions of employment in accordance with the rules of the Civil Service Management Code. Bodies covered by the Code are expected to communicate novel and contentious workforce proposals to the Cabinet Office as made clear by paragraph 4.


Written Question
Treasury: Re-employment
Wednesday 7th July 2021

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2021 to Question 15260 on Civil Service Agencies: Standards, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that fire and rehire is not being used as a negotiating tactic in his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government has been clear that using an approach which threatens to ‘fire and rehire’ staff is not acceptable as a negotiation tactic. HM Treasury is committed to maintaining the reputation of the Civil Service as a good employer and does not use this approach as a negotiation tactic.

Government departments are responsible for ensuring that terms and conditions of employment for civil servants are in accordance with the rules of Civil Service Management Code. The Civil Service Management Code only binds organisations that employ civil servants. Departments covered by the Civil Service Management Code are obliged to submit to the Cabinet Office workforce proposals or arrangements which are contentious or raise questions of propriety (which is made clear in paragraph 4).

Our Arm's Length Bodies (ALBs) are responsible for managing their own staff but are governed by the Framework document that sets out the remit and governance arrangements for each ALB. ALBs are also governed by the Civil Service Management Code if they employ Civil Servants.


Written Question
UK Government Investments: Re-employment
Wednesday 7th July 2021

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2021 to Question 15260 on Civil Service Agencies: Standards, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that fire and rehire is not being used as a negotiating tactic in UK Government Investments; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government has been clear that using an approach which threatens to ‘fire and rehire’ staff is not acceptable as a negotiation tactic. HM Treasury is committed to maintaining the reputation of the Civil Service as a good employer and does not use this approach as a negotiation tactic.

Government departments are responsible for ensuring that terms and conditions of employment for civil servants are in accordance with the rules of Civil Service Management Code. The Civil Service Management Code only binds organisations that employ civil servants. Departments covered by the Civil Service Management Code are obliged to submit to the Cabinet Office workforce proposals or arrangements which are contentious or raise questions of propriety (which is made clear in paragraph 4).

Our Arm's Length Bodies (ALBs) are responsible for managing their own staff but are governed by the Framework document that sets out the remit and governance arrangements for each ALB. ALBs are also governed by the Civil Service Management Code if they employ Civil Servants.


Written Question
UK Asset Resolution: Re-employment
Wednesday 7th July 2021

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2021 to Question 15260 on Civil Service Agencies: Standards, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that fire and rehire is not being used as a negotiating tactic in UK Asset Resolution Limited; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government has been clear that using an approach which threatens to ‘fire and rehire’ staff is not acceptable as a negotiation tactic. HM Treasury is committed to maintaining the reputation of the Civil Service as a good employer and does not use this approach as a negotiation tactic.

Government departments are responsible for ensuring that terms and conditions of employment for civil servants are in accordance with the rules of Civil Service Management Code. The Civil Service Management Code only binds organisations that employ civil servants. Departments covered by the Civil Service Management Code are obliged to submit to the Cabinet Office workforce proposals or arrangements which are contentious or raise questions of propriety (which is made clear in paragraph 4).

Our Arm's Length Bodies (ALBs) are responsible for managing their own staff but are governed by the Framework document that sets out the remit and governance arrangements for each ALB. ALBs are also governed by the Civil Service Management Code if they employ Civil Servants.