Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

Written Answers

Wednesday 6 June 2007

Armed Forces: Medical Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the career structure for the military medical branch. [HL4015]

The military medical branch comprises members of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF commissioned cadres and non-commissioned other ranks, which together form the Defence Medical Services (DMS).

The commissioned cadres comprise medical and dental officers, nursing officers, and commissioned members of some allied health profession cadres.

All DMS officers are commissioned and career managed and gain promotion through respective single service regulations.

Medical and Dental Officers

Medical and dental officers enter service either on a bursary/cadetship while still at university; through direct entry once qualified, post-graduation; or on re-entry terms for those who re-join the Armed Forces after previous service.

Commissions offered comprise:

short commission (SC) (six years);

medium commission (MC) (a maximum of 18 years reckonable service); and

full commission (FC), which enables service to the normal retirement age (NRA) of 58 years with the possibility of extending to age 60 years.

Following graduation as a doctor and having completed basic military training, which varies in length between each service, junior medical officers may elect to progress their professional training either as a general medical practitioner or follow a hospital-based specialist career, where training can take about 10 years or more to complete.

Normally, on graduation medical officers are promoted to OF2 rank (Surgeon Lieutenant (RN)/Captain (Army)/Flight Lieutenant (RAF)). OF3 rank (Surgeon Lieutenant Commander/Major/Squadron Leader) is gained by timed promotion, normally on the date of attaining five years’ seniority in the rank of OF2. Promotion to substantive OF4 rank (Surgeon Commander/Lieutenant Colonel/Wing Commander) follows after six years seniority in the substantive OF3 rank. Individuals would be eligible for substantive promotion to OF5 (Surgeon Captain/Colonel/Group Captain) rank, usually having attained eight years’ seniority in the rank of OF4. Progression to OF6 rank (Surgeon Commodore/Brigadier/Air Commodore) is on having attained three years’ seniority in the substantive rank of OF5 and having been selected for the higher medical management medical pay spine. Beyond OF6 promotion is by selection on merit to a specific appointment.

Nurses

Members of the nursing cadre are either commissioned officers or non-commissioned other rank (OR).

Types of commission are:

SC being six years’ reckonable service extended to eight years if required;

MC to a total of 16 years; and

FC up to a NRA of 55 years for OF5 rank and below. Promotion is on eligibility with an expectation to reach OF4 rank after about 14 years’ service.

Nursing officers enter the services at either OF1 or OF2 rank (depending on their experience). On reaching four years’ seniority at OF1 nursing officers can receive automatic promotion to OF2. Promotion to OF3 is subject to selection after four years served in the rank of OF2. Officers are eligible for selection for promotion to OF4 rank after six years at OF3 rank, provided that they can complete two complete years at the higher rank. Officers are only promoted into OF4 ranks provided there is a suitable vacancy for them to fill. Officers of OF4 rank can be selected for promotion to OF5 after four years’ substantive service. Again they are required to be able to complete two complete years at the higher rank and are promoted only into suitable vacancies. Promotion to higher ranks is by selection only.

Nursing officers are registered nurses on the appropriate part of the Register of the Nursing Midwifery Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting and have a minimum of two years’ recognised post-registration experience. They normally enter as direct entry officers up to the age of 39 years.

Re-entrant officers can re-enter service up to the maximum age of 49 years with previous military service recognised and relevant intervening experience calculated to give additional seniority up to a maximum of six years.

OR student nurses can join their service via one of two routes. Those on student route 1 commence nurse training having first completed basic recruit training. Those on student route 2 make an internal trade transfer from other trade groups into the nursing cadre. There is a direct entry (DE) for qualified nurses under the age of 33 years. Commissioning opportunities are available for OR nurses.

Allied Health Practitioners (AHPs)

AHPs comprise a wide range of medical specialties, ranging from non-commissioned cadres such as dental hygienists and healthcare assistants, to fully-commissioned cadres such as physiotherapists and environmental health officers. Commissioned AHPs generally are on the same terms and conditions of service as the rest of the non-medical branches of the three services, with potential maximum promotion to OF5 (Colonel-equivalent) rank. Entry into this group is either on commissioned terms as DE, or by promotion from the ranks. Maximum commissioned service can be to age 55 years. OR entrants can be either DE if already qualified or they can enlist and be trained within the military structure for some AHP non-commissioned trades.

Corruption

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What records they have for each of the past five years of prosecutions and convictions for the offence of corruption or offences related to corruption. [HL3957]

Information on the number of prosecutions and convictions for corruption offences for the years 2001 to 2005 in England and Wales, taken from the court proceedings database, held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, are provided in the attached table. Data from Northern Ireland are amalgamated in the table below; data for Scotland are shown in a separate table as its data are provided for the financial year, rather than the calendar year.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates’ courts and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to corruption, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 2001 to 2005 (1) (2) (3)

Years

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Statute

Offence description

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 S.1(1)(2)

Soliciting or receiving bribe or giving or offering bribe

1

2

1

-

4

1

3

-

-

-

Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 S.1

Corrupt transactions with agents

10

10

5

20

12

6

3

4

2

2

Total

11

12

6

20

16

7

6

4

2

2

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

(3) Those found guilty may have originally been proceeded against for a more serious offence. The year of prosecution and a guilty verdict do not necessarily correspond.

Persons proceeded against and with a charge proved in Scottish Courts for corruption offences (1) (2), 2001-02—2005-06

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Proceeded against

-

1

1

1

1

Charge Proved

-

-

1

1

1

(1) Where principal offence

(2) Includes offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889.

Data Source: Scottish Executive Justice Department database

EU: Rights

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the latest position on the European Union's proposed Chamber of Fundamental Rights and its relevant agency in Vienna. [HL4060]

The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms signed in Nice on 7 December 2000 is a political declaration by the member states of the European Union.

With regard to the separate Commission proposal to establish a European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna, the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 15 February adopted the regulation establishing the agency. Regulation 168/2007 establishing the agency entered into force on 1 March.

EU: Time Zones

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will clarify (a) how many time zones there are within the European Union, and (b) which nations belong to each of these time zones; and whether they will take steps to ensure that this information is widely known and understood. [HL4017]

Information on EU time zones is widely available to the public on a number of websites, including http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com. Within the continent of Europe, EU member states fall within three different time zones—Western European Time (also known as Greenwich Mean Time), Central European Time and Eastern European Time. Further information on these time zones and the countries included in them is available on the website listed above.

Israel and Palestine: Arrests

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are making representations to the Government of Israel concerning the most recent arrests of elected Palestinians, Ministers and former Ministers. [HL4036]

We are concerned by the arrest of the Hamas members on 23 May. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised our concerns with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on 28 May. We have called for all those detained to be either released or subject to the due legal process.

Israel and Palestine: Ceasefires

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they and the quartet are taking in order to restore comprehensive ceasefires over the whole of Israel and Palestine. [HL4035]

We welcome the ceasefire on 19 May between the Palestinian factional groups and Palestinian President Abbas's recent efforts to ensure that it holds. We also welcome his efforts to persuade Palestinian militant groups to respect the ceasefire with Israel and restore law and order to Gaza.

On 30 May, the quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) called for all Palestinians immediately to renounce all acts of violence and respect the ceasefire. It also strongly condemned the continued firing of Qassam rockets into Israel and endorsed President Abbas's call for an immediate end to such violence. The quartet expressed its concern about Israeli actions in Gaza and urged Israel to exercise restraint to ensure that its security operations avoid civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. The quartet has agreed to meet in June with both parties to review progress and discuss the way forward. The full quartet statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth website at: www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1082829112886.

The EU has called for the parties to consolidate the ceasefire in Gaza and to extend it to the West Bank. We, along with the quartet, will encourage them to respect the existing ceasefires.

Licensing: Music

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What research and statistical analysis is being commissioned to enable distinctions to be made between complaints about incidents of recorded and live music. [HL3891]

Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have measured the impact of neighbourhood renewal funding (NRF) in the most deprived wards; and whether they consider the majority of projects would be sustainable without NRF. [HL3977]

The National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal is subject to a programme of research and evaluation in line with normal government practice. Part of this programme includes a series of case studies intended to assess the contribution of the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to the delivery of this strategy. This work will be published later this year. It is for local strategic partnerships to decide how best to use the fund, and which projects to sustain.

Olympic Games 2012: Allotments

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the statutory obligations of the London Development Agency and the local authority to any allotment holders on the proposed Olympic site. [HL3473]

Local authorities are under a general duty under the Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, if they are of the opinion that there is a demand for allotments in their area, to provide a sufficient number for those of their residents who wish to take on one. The sole statutory obligation of the London Development Agency (LDA) is to compensate the allotment holders for the loss of their allotments.

However, while the LDA is not under any statutory obligation, it is nevertheless working closely with the allotment holders and making strenuous efforts to relocate the allotments until 2014. After this date the Olympic legacy proposals provide for a new permanent allotment site to be allocated within the Olympic Park.

Prisons: Social Care

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they are encouraging best practice in social care in considering the supervision of prison officers in light of concerns about the complexities of offenders' needs. [HL4057]

All training for prison managers has, at its heart, the welfare and effective supervision of both staff and prisoners.

Interpersonal skills, professional standards, wing security and dynamic security training for new prison officers were revised following recommendations in the Mubarek report. This is to ensure that officers realise the importance of building an understanding rapport with prisoners to enable them to be held decently and safely.

Private Finance Initiative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the advantages of purchasing via private finance initiative schemes as opposed to normal public expenditure financing. [HL3994]

PFI has a strong track record of delivering investment infrastructure that supports public services on time and on budget. The Government are committed to using PFI only when it offers value for money to do so. The value for money benefits of PFI flow from the long-term focus it brings on whole life costs, the private sector's risk management experience incentivised by having private finance at risk, and the certainty for public services it provides for specified outputs being delivered at the cost contracted for.

Russia: Human Rights

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Russian Federation's laws and practices are compatible with its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe as regards respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. [HL3987]

We have been clear in our private discussions with the Russian Government and in our public statements that we have concerns about the situation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia. We are committed to continued engagement with Russia on these issues, including through the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe has played an important role in the promotion of human rights, rule of law and democracy in Russia and, importantly, gives Russian citizens access to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The Council of Europe's monitoring mechanisms have regularly reported on the level of Russia's compliance with Council of Europe commitments. We continue to urge Russia to make progress in implementing the recommendations of these bodies. Russia is also subject to the scrutiny of the Committee of Ministers, in which we play an active role. Furthermore, judgments of the ECHR in certain cases brought by Russian citizens against the Russian Federation have highlighted areas where the level of protection of human rights in Russia is inconsistent with its Council of Europe obligations. The Committee of Ministers supervises the execution of these judgments.