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Environment Agency: Manpower

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons contractors have replaced the Environment Agency’s electricians, carpenters, welders and divers at its in-house craft workshop in the Thames Region. (208429)

The Environment Agency has contracted out craft work of a non-emergency nature. Craft posts required for emergency response at critical assets remain in-house.

The reasons for contracting out work include:

contractors are better able to use specialist craft skills;

reorganisation will provide better value and a more rational structure;

contractors do this work every day as it is their core business and are more likely to innovate;

Thames’ craft teams are generally small and there were difficulties recruiting and maintaining skills; and

long-term contractual arrangements provide more certainty about maintenance standards.

Thames region has largely been able to use current contractors to undertake the work which was previously undertaken in-house. The review has led to no forced redundancies.