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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
20 February 2019
Volume 654

Written Statements

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Cabinet Office

Government Outsourcing

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Following Carillion’s liquidation in January 2018, the Government response ensured continuity of key public services. However, there has been increased scrutiny on the benefits and risks associated with the use of the private sector to deliver public services. In the light of this, we have been reviewing our outsourcing processes and considering lessons learned.

The review concluded that outsourcing, done well, can deliver significant benefits. It delivers economies of scale that mean services can be provided more efficiently, at lower cost and at better value for the taxpayer. Open and fair competition within free markets encourages creativity and innovation, meaning fresh perspectives and new solutions can be applied to existing policy challenges.

However, it also highlighted that we need to take steps to improve public service outcomes from outsourcing, increase our resilience to supplier failure and rebuild public trust in outsourcing. Today, I am pleased to announce that we have published new guidance for officials that will help Government to work smarter with industry, set up contracts for success and build a more diverse supplier base. These are:

Outsourcing playbook and associated guidance—This will allow Departments to make good outsourcing decisions, achieve value for money when outsourcing, and is aimed at everyone involved in the outsourcing of a public service.

Supplier code of conduct—We have reviewed and updated the supplier code of conduct to ensure that it not only set out the behaviours taxpayers expect of central Government’s suppliers but includes what suppliers should expect of Government.

Guidance on corporate financial distress which suggests practical steps to take where contract managers have concerns over a supplier’s financial health.

The principles of the outsourcing playbook will apply to all Government outsourcing with a particular focus on complex first generation projects and subsequent generations where the service is being delivered in a different or novel way. The 11 key policies published today in the playbook will ensure that the Government get more projects right from the start. It will promote a diverse and healthy marketplace—and we will have “living wills” in the unlikely event of things going wrong.

In order to ensure that we take into account the wider social benefits to be derived from Government contracts, we are extending the requirements of the social value Act in central Government so that all major procurements will explicitly evaluate social value, where appropriate, rather than just consider it.

The Public Accounts Committee recommended that we review our approach to managing current strategic supplier risk. The revised approach will see the introduction of a new memorandum of understanding between the Cabinet Office and strategic suppliers that reflects a more mature relationship with industry, and provides greater flexibility in how government manages situations.

In order to build the capability within Departments to outsource effectively and manage outsourced contracts, we are undertaking a programme to accredit and train 30,000 contract managers across the civil service by the end of 2021.

Taken together, the measures in this reform package is key to delivering value for money for taxpayers when services are outsourced, strengthening our resilience to supplier failure and rebuilding public trust in outsourcing.

A copy of the outsourcing playbook, financial distress guidance and supplier code of conduct have been placed in the libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1345]

Treasury

Public Service Pension Indexation and Revaluation

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Legislation governing public service pensions requires them to be increased annually by the same percentage as additional pensions (state earnings related pension and state second pension). Public service pensions will therefore be increased from 8 April 2019 by 2.4%, in line with the annual increase in the consumer prices index up to September 2018, except for those public service pensions which have been in payment for less than a year, which will receive a pro rata increase.

Separately, in the new career average public service pension schemes, pensions in accrual are revalued annually in relation to either prices or earnings depending on the terms specified in their scheme regulations. The Public Service Pensions Act 2013 requires HMT to specify a measure of prices and of earnings to be used for revaluation by these schemes.

The prices measure is the consumer prices index up to September 2018. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 2.4% for the prices element of revaluation.

The earnings measure is the whole economy average weekly earnings (non-seasonally adjusted and including bonuses and arrears) up to September 2018. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 2.8% for the earnings element of revaluation.

Revaluation is one part of the amount of pension that members earn in a year and needs to be considered in conjunction with the amount of in-year accrual. Typically, schemes with lower revaluation will have faster accrual and therefore members will earn more pension per year. The following list shows how the main public service schemes will be affected by revaluation:

Scheme

Police

Fire

Civil Service

NHS

Teachers

LGPS

Armed Forces

Judicial

Revaluation for active member

3.65%

2.8%

2.4%

3.9%

4.0%

2.4%

2.8%

2.4%

[HCWS1347]

Home Department

Police Powers: Stop and Search

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Today I am announcing new stop and search powers for police to tackle acid attacks and the misuse of drones.

These new powers are being announced in response to the recent public consultation on extending stop and search to address the criminal misuse of unmanned aircraft (drones), laser pointers and corrosive substances.

Stop and search is an important tool for the police to prevent, detect and investigate offences, including some of the most violent and devastating, thereby helping the police to protect and safeguard the public. The use of stop and search, when proportionate, lawful, and intelligence-led, is an integral part of the policing response in tackling serious violence, and in preventing and deterring people from carrying weapons. However, it is also important that when stop and search is used it is done effectively, professionally, and, as far as possible, with community consent.

The Offensive Weapons Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will introduce the offence of possession of a corrosive substance in a public place and provisions to extend stop and search powers to cover this offence. The use of corrosive substances as a weapon can cause significant harm and injury to individuals, families and communities and we are determined to take strong action in order to prevent these horrendous attacks.

Following the incident at Gatwick airport, the Government have been working closely with the police to examine whether they have the necessary powers to respond should the misuse of a drone cause widespread disruption to the operation of an aerodrome. The police have been clear that in certain circumstances, a power to stop and search a person in relation to offences concerning flying a drone within the restriction zone of a licensed aerodrome would enhance their ability to respond should a similar situation arise in the future. We consider such a power to be proportionate and beneficial in enabling the police to tackle incidents causing widespread disruption to the operation of aerodromes and the Government will continue to work with the police to define the detailed scope of this power.

In addition, the Government are working closely with the police to examine whether they have the appropriate powers to respond effectively to other offences, including around prisons, that might be committed using a drone. If this work reveals further meaningful operational gaps, the Government will take further legislative action.

The Government will also keep under review the adequacy of the existing powers to tackle offences related to the misuse of laser pointers.

I am grateful to the 223 individuals and organisations that responded to the consultation, including members of the public, the police service and other interested parties.

I am placing a copy of the Government response to the consultation in the Libraries of both Houses and on gov.uk.

[HCWS1343]

Housing, Communities and Local Government

Local Government Brexit Funding: Local Ports

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On 28 January, I announced £56.5 million of new funding to help councils prepare for Brexit as set out in a written ministerial statement on local government Brexit funding, Official Report, column 31WS. Part of that funding was £1.5 million in 2018-19 to local authorities facing immediate impacts from local ports.

I am today able to announce an increase of this funding from £1.5 million to £3.14 million. Its distribution to local authorities is set out in table 1 below. This additional funding will support those authorities to plan and better mitigate against potential disruptions once we have exited the EU.

The funding will be divided between 19 district and unitary councils. These allocations are based on recent analysis and engagement and reflect a range of issues including the amount of EU goods managed and the wider, strategic importance of these ports.

As part of the 28 January announcement, I retained £10 million for allocation during 2019-20 to respond to specific local costs that may only become evident in the months after we exit the EU. I will look carefully at any pressures that should be funded, including any emerging pressures relating to port functions or wider impacts on port areas.

Table 1: Allocation of funding to authorities

Port

Authority

Allocation (£)

1. Port of Dover

1. Dover

2. Folkestone and Hythe

136,362

136,362

2. Eurotunnel

Dover

Folkestone and Hythe

136,362

136,362

3. Ramsgate

3. Thanet

136,362

4. Goole

4. East Riding of Yorkshire

136,362

5. Hull

5. Hull City

136,362

6. Grimsby

6. North East Lincolnshire

136,362

7. Immingham (DBP, DfDS and C. Ro)

North East Lincolnshire

136,362

8. Portsmouth

7. Portsmouth City

136,362

9. Southampton General

8. Southampton City

136,362

10. Southampton Container

Southampton City

136,362

11. Ashford

9. Ashford

136,362

12. Ebbsfleet

10. Gravesend

11. Dartford

136,362

136,362

13. St Pancras

12. Camden

136,362

14. Manchester Airport

13. Manchester City

136,362

15. East Midlands Airport

14. North West Leicestershire

136,362

16. Stansted Airport

15. Uttlesford

136,362

17. Heathrow Airport

16. Hillingdon

136,362

18. Gatwick Airport

17. Crawley

136,362

19. Harwich

18. Tendring

136,362

20. Felixstowe

19. Suffolk Coastal

136,362

Total funding of £3,136,326.

[HCWS1346]

Transport

Drones

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My noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Baroness Sugg) has made the following written statement.

Today I am setting out the Government’s recent action on drones, including legislative amendments to the Air Navigation Order 2016 that will be laid before Parliament today.

Last year, the Government legislated to make flying drones above 400 feet or within 1 km of an airport boundary illegal. This 1 km restriction measure was a first step in protecting our airports and aircraft while the Department gathered further evidence and engaged with stakeholders through our recent consultation.

The highly irresponsible and dangerous disruption caused by drones to flights at Gatwick and Heathrow airports recently highlighted the risks. While the use of drones at Gatwick and Heathrow was already illegal, it is extremely important that regulation provides protection which reduces, as much as possible, the airspace where drones and manned aircraft can come into close proximity with each other. Therefore, the Government have decided to extend the restriction zone around airports, as announced to Parliament in January.

The amendment laid today will put into law the extension of the restriction zone around protected aerodromes where drones cannot be flown without permission. The new restriction zone will include an airport’s aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) as well as 5 km by 1 km extensions from the end of runways to protect take-off and landing paths. All drones will be restricted from flying within this zone unless appropriate permission is granted.

The extended restriction zone will come into force on 13 March this year.

In addition to legislation, it is crucial that the public are aware of the rules on the use of drones, so today we are expanding our national campaign, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority, to boost public awareness.

The Department for Transport has today written to airports and local authorities asking them to publicise the new rules and to help to educate passengers and the public about responsible drone use. To help with this, the Department is providing a digital tool kit to explain the rules simply and clearly and to promote the Civil Aviation Authority’s drone safe campaign and drone code guidance. This includes maps detailing the new restriction zones at each individual airport.

The Government are preparing a new drones Bill, which will give police powers to clamp down on those misusing drones and other small unmanned aircraft, including a power to access electronic data stored on drones with a warrant. In addition, the Home Office is also today announcing new stop and search powers for drones around aerodromes, which will also be included in the Bill.

These enforcement powers will complement legislation introduced last year which will require the mandatory registration of operators and the online competency testing of remote pilots for drones over 250 grams. These requirements will become a legal obligation in November this year and work with the new police powers to increase accountability and clamp down on irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.

The Home Office is further reviewing the UK’s response to the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, as well as testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.

The Government will continue to work closely with industry and other partners on regulation, anticipating future innovations wherever possible in order to keep our airports secure and our airspace safe.

These actions will help to combat the misuse of drones, so that small unmanned aircraft can be used safely and securely, and continue to support the development and growth of this rapidly expanding new industry.

[HCWS1344]