§ Mr. Cartwright
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many posts in the Procurement Executive remained unfilled in each grade at the most recent convenient date; what steps he is taking to fill vacancies; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
The latest figures available as at 1 September 1988 show that a total of around 1,100 posts for scientists or engineers, and around 400 posts for administrative/clerical staff, were unfilled in the procurement executive, there were negligible numbers of vacant posts in the service grades and industrial grades. These unfilled posts are out of a total of some 35,000 posts, which include the research establishments, quality assurance, project management and procurement executive headquarters.
A wide range of initiatives is in hand to make good these manpower shortfalls such as new pay arrangements and special pay additions to assist with recruitment and retention, national recruitment campaigns, changes in work patterns to introduce more flexibility, job sharing and short service contracts. Looking further ahead, relocation of major parts of the procurement executive away from the south-east is being considered, which should assist in recruitment and retention.