Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme

Defence written question – answered on 9th September 2013.

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Photo of Alan Meale Alan Meale Labour, Mansfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what plans his Department has for the future of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme;

(2) who took the decision to reorganise the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme; and for what reasons that decision was taken;

(3) when his Department took the decision to reorganise the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme; whether all the Scheme's stakeholders were consulted before that decision; and what recommendations on the future of the Scheme were received from stakeholders;

(4) whether the Chair of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme was consulted about a new format for that Scheme; and what advice he gave on those changes.

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 2 September 2013, Hansard, column 49W to Mr Murphy, and on 2 September 2013, Hansard, column 37W to my hon. Friend Mr Gray.

The decision to convert the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS) to a charity was agreed unanimously by all AFPS stakeholders (Mr Speaker, the Lord Speaker, myself on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence, the commercial sponsors, and Sir Neil Thorne (as founder)) on 25 October 2012. This was informed by a review which consulted widely and considered a range of future governance options.

This decision will ensure the Scheme's long-term sustainability and provide the transparent and accountable governance structure expected of organisations with access to parliamentarians and the Ministry of Defence who are also supported by commercial sponsors.

As the AFPS founder, Sir Neil Thorne has been involved in the discussions on the future of the Scheme from the outset and his advice has been valued by all stakeholders.

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