Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 2 June 2009


Met Office (Key Performance Targets 2009-10)

Key performance targets have been set for the chief executive of Met Office for financial year 2009-10. The targets are designed to drive continued improvements in the agency’s performance and are as follows:

KPT 1. Forecast Accuracy: To achieve at least three out of the four following forecast accuracy measures.

a. To maintain the forecasting skill, using the UK numerical weather prediction index, to 117.0

b. Improve the forecasting skill, using the global numerical weather prediction index, to 138.1

c. More skilfully predict whether precipitation will occur at approximately 150 Met Office observing sites, to achieve a skill score of at least 0.267.

d. To achieve the UK cities automated temperature index of at least 0.666.

KPT 2. Business Profitability: To achieve a business profitability target on a newly agreed basis of £5.3 million.

KPT 3. Return on Capital Employed: To achieve a return on capital employed of at least 3.2 per cent. in line with Treasury requirements of achieving at least 3.5 per cent. averaged over the period 2009-10 to 2013-14.

KPT 4. Support to wider HMG Goals: To deliver the outputs of the customer supplier agreements (CSA) for public weather services, Defence and DEFRA within the tolerances agreed with the customers and defined in the CSAs.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (Performance Targets)

The key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) for the financial year 2009-10. They provide customers with an assurance that, as well as focusing on maintaining high quality services in the delivery of pay, pensions and compensation claims, SPVA will continue to give high priority to customer service and increased efficiency.

Target 1—To Deliver Timely Service Pay. To make 99.9 per cent. of all pay payments by the due date.

Target 2—To Deliver Accurate Service Pay. 98.3 per cent. of all service pay to be 100 per cent. accurate, excluding errors caused by inaccurate external inputs.

Target 3—To Deliver Timely Pensions and Compensation Decisions. Overall reporting against key target 3 to be weighted by the achievement of the sub-component measurers below:

a. Armed Forces Pension Scheme. To make 99.3 per cent. of all service pension payments by the due date.

b. Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. 98 per cent. of all decisions within 40 working days1 except for high priority cases2 where 95 per cent. will be cleared within 20 days3.

c. War Pension Scheme. To clear claims for war pensions within 52 working days average clearance time, including 19 days average clearance time for widows pensions.

Target 4—To Deliver Accurate Pension and Compensation Decisions and Payments.

a. To deliver an overall target of 98 per cent. of all service pensions accurately.

b. To deliver 99 per cent. of service pensions accurately.

c. To deliver compensation and war pension claims with a financial and decision accuracy of 98 per cent4.

Target 5—To Achieve an Overall Customer Satisfaction Average of 80 per cent. Satisfied or Very Satisfied, with not less than 70 per cent. in any one segment.

The SPVA customer segments are:

a. Corporate Customers.

b. HR Professional Users.

c. Self Service Online Users.

d. Veterans.

Target 6—To Ensure a Seamless Transition from Current Contract to Interim Contract.

100 per cent. of transition programme milestones met.

1Within the specified number of working days from receipt of required external evidence (predominantly medical evidence).

2 Priority cases are those involving or likely to involve injury at tariff level 8 or above.

3 Within the specified number of working days from receipt of required external evidence (predominantly medical evidence).

4 Includes +/-£10 materiality tolerance.

UK Hydrographic Office (Key Performance Targets 2009-10)

Key performance targets have been set for the chief executive of UK Hydrographic Office for financial year 2009-10. The targets are designed to drive continued improvements in the agency’s performance and are as follows:

KPT 1—Safety: While aiming for 100, to achieve a safety index of 95 or higher.

KPT 2—Defence: To deliver the defence hydrographic programme achieving an index rating of 95 or higher while transitioning to a multi-year service definition annex incorporating incentivised pricing.

KPT 3—Finance: Achieve a return on capital employed of 9 per cent. on a three-year rolling basis.

KPT 4—Efficiency: To achieve at least 75 out of 100 against 10 targets which together reflect a measure of organisational excellence.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

“Novel Materials in the Environment: The Case of Nanotechnology”

I am pleased to announce the Government’s response to the twenty-seventh report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution “Novel Materials in the Environment: The Case of Nanotechnology”, which was laid before Parliament on 11 November 2008.

We welcome the report of the Royal Commission which has already made—and will continue to make—an invaluable contribution to our thinking on the management of emerging novel technologies, such as nanotechnology.

The Government response will be laid before Parliament today. Copies will be available in the Vote Office.


Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 8 and 9 June. The Health and Consumer Affairs part of the Council will be taken on 9 June.

Items on the main agenda are: patient safety, including prevention and control of healthcare associated infection; rare diseases; a progress report on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare and a discussion on the pharmaceutical package, which contains three separate dossiers.

Ministers will be asked to adopt draft Council recommendations on both patient safety and rare diseases. The patient safety recommendation aims to make patient safety and the prevention and control of health care associated infections a priority in member states public health objectives. The rare diseases recommendation will improve the codification and classification of rare diseases and will aim to improve the exchange of expertise on rare diseases, and hence, enable more effective treatment of rare diseases in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries. The recommendation also encourages more EU level research on rare diseases.

There will also be a progress report and discussion on a proposal for a directive of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. The draft directive focuses on codifying ECJ case law on patient mobility and clarifying the rights of patients, together with how member states health systems can manage patient mobility in a sustainable way.

Also tabled for discussion is the pharmaceuticals package. There are three dossiers under this package:

a proposal for a directive regarding the prevention of the entry into the legal supply chain of medicinal products falsified in relation to their identity;

a proposal regarding pharmacovigilance of medicinal products for human use; and

a proposal concerning information to the general public on medicinal products for human use.

Both the proposals on patients’ rights and the pharmaceutical package are currently being negotiated in Council working groups.

Over lunch, the presidency will chair an informal ministerial discussion on the health security related matters, including influenza.

Under any other business, there will be information from the presidency on the implementation of the United Nations convention on the rights of people with disability and a progress report on a directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation. There will also be information from the Danish delegation on ingredients in tobacco and information from the Swedish delegation will provide information on the work programme for their forthcoming presidency.

International Development

African Development Bank (Second Joint Strategic Framework)

Today 2 June 2009, I am publishing the second Joint Strategic Framework for the engagement of the Governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal with the African Development Bank. This framework sets out how the UK and its fellow constituency members will work with the African Development Bank to improve its effectiveness over the next three years to 2011. It replaces Joint Strategic Framework 1 (2006-08).

This Joint Strategic Framework is written at a time of great opportunity but also of great challenge for the African continent. Overall economic performance in most African countries has been good, but progress towards the millennium development goals still needs to accelerate. The global financial crisis has introduced new pressures and uncertainties.

Slower global economic growth, more difficult credit conditions, and changes in the international aid architecture pose additional challenges to which the African Development Bank will need to respond. At the same time, the bank must be better able to deal with the longer-term challenges facing Africa, including climate change, development in fragile states, gender equality, ensuring that private sector growth has positive benefits for the poorest, and helping countries in Africa work and trade together.

In addition to the three-year objectives on bank effectiveness set out in the Joint Strategic Framework, the UK has several specific objectives for the African Development Bank over the next 12 months.

Response to the financial crisis

The financial crisis is impacting on Africa, with commodity prices down, remittances falling, and private investment flows slowing. The bank has a key role to play in Africa’s response, and to help countries deal with the challenges they are facing. In particular we will work with the bank over the coming year to:

Enable it to meet additional demand for lending during the crisis. We expect demands on the bank’s finances will increase during the crisis, and we are committed to ensuring the bank has the resources it needs to deliver its mandate for all members.

Change policies that limit the impact of the bank’s response, especially removing the cap on the proportion of bank funds that can be used for budget support.

Fragile states

Fragile states experience huge poverty and human development problems. In these countries, the millennium development goals are most off-track with extreme poverty, and child and maternal deaths three to four times more prevalent than in other developing countries. The African Development Bank’s £400 million fragile state facility is an important instrument that the bank can use in fragile states. We will work with the bank this year to:

Establish effective bank programmes in all countries receiving funding under the fragile states facility.


As the 2005 Paris declaration on aid effectiveness said, developing countries must set their own strategies for poverty reduction. To support this, the African Development Bank is decentralising its staff from the headquarters to bank offices around Africa. The bank has made good progress establishing a large number of field offices in recent years, but these offices need to be strengthened with the right expertise, and given an appropriate level of delegated authority. This year we will work with the bank to:

Complete the decentralisation process in 15 countries, with 15 fully-staffed country offices operating effectively with appropriate delegated authority.


Effective development organisations need clear objectives, and must be able to benchmark and demonstrate progress against achieving them. The African Development Bank now has a single results system for all its operations, but the system is still being bedded in, and in some cases baselines against which progress can be measured still need to be established. We will work with the bank over the coming year to:

Establish results frameworks in all bank country strategies.

Ensure Bank management reports every six months on its performance indicators.

A copy of the Joint Strategic Framework will be placed in the House of Commons Library.