Clause 82 - Transfer schemes

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 8th March 2012.

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Photo of John Woodcock John Woodcock Shadow Minister (Transport) 2:00 pm, 8th March 2012

I beg to move amendment 66, in clause 82, page 51, line 10, leave out ‘the CAA’ and insert—

‘(a) the CAA;

(b) the individuals referred to in subsection 1(a); and

(c) trade unions representing the individuals referred to in subsection 1(a).’.

The amendment is intended to probe the Government a little further on the concerns about staff transfer, which have already been extensively debated, so I will not go over that ground again. I want to draw out a few more specifics that I hope the Minister can give clarity on.

Can the Minister assure the Committee that the transfer will not lead to a loss of expertise, which has been widely discussed thus far as a possibility? Specifically, why are secondments not seen as a better option for staff? What do Ministers intend to do beyond simply hoping that staff will stay on, which is effectively what her colleague the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Lewes, set out in his letter to the shadow Secretary of State?

The amendment would also give departmental employees who might be transferred to the CAA by the Bill—I think there are 84 posts—and their representatives the right to be consulted by the Secretary of State before any such transfer. Without provisions to give more support to staff who might be transferred, any such process could lead to a serious loss of expertise as employees leave before being transferred.

When the Minister address that issue will she also, as a brief hangover from the previous debate, give an example of when the previous Government supported a risk-based system for aviation security? That would be quite helpful, because she keeps accusing me of making U-turns, and I am not clear that I have done so