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Regions White Paper

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress the Department has made towards the goal set out in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", of (a) ensuring that regional awareness and devolution feature strongly in Civil Service training and development, (b) increasing the mobility of civil servants between headquarters offices, regional offices, and the Government Offices and (c) encouraging interchange between the Civil Service and organisations in the regions. [108584]

My Department is committed to improving awareness of regional issues and devolution among its staff as part of its overall strategy for training and development. Where appropriate this includes participation in training programmes offered by the Civil Service Training College (CMPS).The Department is revieving its induction package to reflect an appropriate emphasis on regional awareness and devolution. The Department's website includes a section on devolution and we brief staff on the regional aspects of the Department's work through internal publications.The mobility of staff between HQ policy and regionally based delivery directorates is a strategic priority and all moves are made in the best interest of the Department. To improve the mobility of staff, all permanent Department for Transport (DfT) central staff have access to, and are eligible to apply for, vacancies in the Department's Agencies and the Government Offices via an electronic job advertising system.Permanent staff below the Senior Civil Service in the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Employment and Skills, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department for Trade and Industry and the Home Office working in the Government Offices and permanent agency staff, are eligible to apply for advertised DfT posts. However we do not record centrally the resulting staff moves between headquarters and the regions.During 2002–03, around 20 staff undertook interchange postings with organisations in the regions from the then Department for Transport Local Government and the Regions (DTLR). Transport constitutes approximately one third of these postings, all of which are on-going. We aim to improve this. My Department's central interchange team will shortly be discussing the development of specific opportunities with our Agencies, all of whom have staff located outside London.