Thursday 16 September 2021
Supply Chain Finance in Government: Boardman Review
On 12 April, the Government announced that the Prime Minister had asked Nigel Boardman to investigate the development and use of supply chain finance in Government, especially the role of Lex Greensill and Greensill Capital, including associated companies or companies in its group, and any related issues that Mr Boardman considered were in scope. In accordance with the terms of reference, Mr Boardman provided the Prime Minister with part 1 of his report which sets out Mr Boardman’s findings of fact. This was published on 22 July (paper reference DEP2021-0641).
The purpose of the review was to establish the facts and any lessons to be learned. Mr Boardman has now delivered the second part of his report, including making recommendations. These recommendations and wider suggestions, for institutions in public life to consider, are being published today.
As Mr. Boardman’s report recognises, the Government have already committed, through the declaration on Government reform, to continually reinforce high standards of conduct in public life through proper process and transparency so that the public can have trust and confidence in the operation of Government at all levels.
The Government note the work of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs, Treasury and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees, as well as the forthcoming “Standards Matter 2” report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life. We will consider their work alongside Mr Boardman’s recommendations, and set out a substantive Government policy statement to Parliament in due course.
I am depositing a copy of the report in the Libraries of both Houses, and publishing it on gov.uk.
Motor Vehicle Driving Licences
The haulage sector has been experiencing a shortage of HGV drivers worldwide for some time. The issue has been further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as driver testing had to be suspended for much of last year, meaning the shortage increased further.
This country enjoys a robust and resilient supply chain. Nevertheless, there is no room for complacency and this Government are determined to do what they can to mitigate the effects as far as is possible. It is therefore vital that we expedite legislation that will expand and accelerate testing—while at the same time acknowledging that the road haulage industry must play its part in improving recruitment and training by offering better pay and conditions.
The Department for Transport and other Government Departments have worked closely with the haulage sector considering a range of options to improve the number of HGV drivers. As part of these measures a consultation closed on 7 September on change to streamline the HGV driving licence regime and removing a separate trailer test for car drivers. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has already taken administrative action to increase capacity and offer more practical HGV tests but more is needed.
The first of these measures will be addressed via a draft affirmative statutory instrument that will be laid before Parliament today and will mean that car drivers will no longer need to take another test to tow a trailer or caravan, freeing up some 30,000 test slots annually. This additional capacity can be used to reduce the backlog in HGV testing.
To make rapid progress on this, we are making use of the urgent procedure under paragraph 14(6) of schedule 8 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. I am of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, the requirements for the statutory instrument to be published in draft 28 days before it is laid, and for a scrutiny statement to be made before laying, should not apply.
Accelerating the legislation by forgoing the 28-day publication period will allow earlier laying of the legislation than would have otherwise been possible and strengthen the steps we have already taken to increase testing capacity and ease supply chain issues as quickly as possible. Arrangements will be in place to ensure that the changes made by the legislation are operationally effective as soon as the legislation is in force.
Road safety continues to be of paramount importance. We will engage with training providers and insurers to test the response to this change and to explore how we can seek to ensure that any road safety concerns are addressed. We will also explore options for an industry led accreditation that could offer a standardised testing approach if that would be welcomed by the market, insurers and consumers.