§ Mr. Patrick Thompson
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what targets he has set for the executive agencies in his Department. 
§ Sir George Young
The following key targets have been set for the Department of Transport's executive agencies. The targets are set out in the agencies' business plans, which include management objectives, performance indicators and key tasks, where appropriate to the agencies' business. Copies of the business plans are placed in the Library.
The key targets for the Coastguard agency are to:discharge the Secretary of State's responsibility for maritime search and rescue, through its own or dedicated assets by:maintaining a 24 hours SAR co-ordinating capability within, and including the coasts and shoreline of the UK search and rescue region;arriving on the scene of coastal incidents with 30 minutes of the call, 95 per cent. of the time; and by getting helicopters airborne within 15 minutes of a notification to "scramble" during the daytime and 45 minutes at night;maintaining a comprehensive radio reception and transmission coverage of the UKSRR which enables SAR co-ordination action for the duration of incidents without interruption or equipment malfunction;testing contingency plans for major maritime SAR incidents, particularly those involving passenger carrying vessels and merchant shipping and the offshore oil and gas industry by undertaking at least five live exercises, and additionally as required by the shipping industry to exercise passenger vessel emergency plans with SAR services; and by conducting 34 SAR awareness seminars;maintain a fully operational 24-hours channel navigation information service covering the Dover strait traffic separation scheme, in concert with the appropriate French authorities;discharge the Secretary of State's responsibility for dealing with marine pollution by the maintenance of a national contingency plan and in particular:activate the plan within 30 minutes of notification of an incident;commence action at sea to deal with a spill of dispersible oil within four hours of notification of an incident;undertake one national and six local exercises in conjunction with local authorities, oil companies and harbour authorities; andreview the national contingency plan by 31 March 1998;increase the number of prosecutions undertaken for marine pollution offences in conjunction with the Marine Safety Agency;complete the installation of a computerised SAR incident recording system by 31 July and to report to the Department by the end of October 1997 on suitable targets for effecting a reduction in the number of incidents.To implement phase 2 of the proposed reorganisation of the HM Coastguard operational structure "Focus for Change" by 31 March 1988.
The key targets for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency are to:make an efficiency gain (on the basis of an overall efficiency index) of 2.5 per cent.;complete successfully 495,000 vehicle excise duty enforcement cases by imposition of penalties and to recover, through penalties and duty from licensing, at least £2.85 for every £1.00 full cost spent by DVLA on vehicle excise duty enforcement;758Wdeliver 95 per cent. of ordinary driving licences to customers within 10 workings days, 95 per cent. of vocational driving licences within nine working days, and 95 per cent. of first provisional driving licences within nine working days.deliver 95 per cent. of registration documents for new vehicles within 12 days, and 95 per cent. of changes to vehicle registration documents within 13 days;deliver answers to 96 per cent. of written inquiries within eight working days, and to answer 90 per cent. of telephone inquiries within 30 seconds;ensure that at least 98 per cent. of driving licences, 98 per cent. of registration documents for new vehicles, and 97 per cent. of changes to registration documents are issued without a DVLA induced error.7
The key targets for the Driving Standards Agency are to:achieve an average annual return on capital employed on statutory activities of 6 per cent. of net assets, over the period 1 April 1997 to 31 March 2002;increase the weighted average of fees by no more than the increase in prices as measured by the retail price index over the period 1 April 1997 to 31 March 2000, and by no more than the retail price index minus 1 per cent. in both 2000–01 and 2001–02;achieve a national average waiting time for car and practical tests of six weeks and make appointments available within 10 weeks at 99 per cent. of permanent test centres;aim to keep 99.5 per cent. of all practical test appointments which are in place two days prior to the appointment date;answer practical test booking office telephones so that:four of five calls will be answered on their first dialling attempt;90 per cent. of calls which have been answered by an automatic system will then be answered by a human voice within 30 seconds; andan average of no more than 4 per cent. of calls in the queue will be abandoned before being answered;achieve a national average waiting time for theory tests of two weeks;ensure theory test booking office telephones are answered so that:incoming lines will not be engaged for more than 30 seconds in any week; and95 per cent. of all calls which have been answered by an automatic system will be answered within 10 seconds by a human voice.
The key targets for the Highways Agency are to:improve performance against the road user's charter targets set out in annexe C of the agency's business plan where achievement levels were below target in 1996–97 and improve systems for monitoring performance;implement the six Whitehall standards set out in the citizen's charter fifth anniversary White Paper (As set out in annexe C of the business plan);achieve 80 per cent. of the milestones relating to national schemes, design build finance and operate projects and other private finance initiatives listed in annex D of the business plan, or other milestones as may be substituted or added by Ministers;complete 85 per cent. of the network enhancement and network control projects listed in annex E of the business plan;complete 1,400 lane kilometres of surface renewal, including reconstruction, overlays, resurfacing, inlays and surface dressing (including resin-based surface treatments and re texturing);assess the structural capacity of all remaining structures by March 1998 to ensure that from 1 January 1999, all vehicles up to and including the new 40-tonne maximum gross weight 759W standard can use all structures supporting trunk roads and other important routes over trunk roads; and complete 4,400 general inspections and 2,150 principal inspections;safeguard 126 structures for use by 40-tonne vehicles;contribute to the Government's target of reducing road casualties by one third by 2000 (compared to the annual average for 1981–85) by ensuring that accident rates between 1996 and 1998 on the motorway and all-purpose trunk road network do not exceed 21 accidents involving personal injury for every 100 million vehicle kilometres of travel and by completing 180 local safety schemes;publish congestion monitoring information, including national road network assessment system maps and TrafficMaster data;publish, as part of the agency's annual report, information about and activities covered by the agency's environmental strategy, for new schemes and network management and maintenance activities, demonstrating that the agency has given full weight to environmental issues. The information will quantify specific environmental effects and will detail measures taken to reduce the impact of roads on the environment, as indicated in annex F of the business plan;develop revised efficiency indicator(s) by 30 June 1997;ensure applications to the national roads scheme committee in 1997–98 to increase the cost of schemes are not to exceed 2 per cent. of the total programme value;complete a risk analysis, and obtain client agreement to the risk estimate and referral points for those national schemes listed under the preferred route announcement;Order publication, public inquiry and award of contract milestones in Annex D of the business plan.
The key targets for the Marine Safety Agency are to:reduce the accident rate of UK merchant ships on a three-year rolling average;reduce the number of deaths of crew and passengers on UK merchant ships on a three-year rolling average;reduce the accident rate of UK registered fishing vessels on a three-year rolling average;reduce the number of deaths on UK registered fishing vessels on a three-year rolling average;ensure that the rate of merchant ship losses in the Red Ensign fleet remains below the world fleet rate on a three-year rolling average;reduce the number of Red Ensign registered vessels detailed by other flag states as a percentage of the number inspected under port state control arrangements on a three-year rolling average;undertake port state control inspections of 25 to 30 per cent. of foreign-registered ships visiting UK ports;increase the number of prosecutions undertaken for Marine Pollution Convention offences, in conjunction with the Coastguard Agency;ensure that at least 60 per cent. of available time is spent on core activities.
The key targets for the Vehicle Certification Agency are to:achieve a net unit cost target of £74.96;have at least 98 per cent. of approval certificates issued error free;ensure that where errors do occur in certificates, corrected documents are issued within three working days in 95 per cent. of cases;have at least 98 per cent. of invoices issued error free;ensure that where errors do occur in invoices, corrected documents are issued within three working days in 95 per cent. of cases;audit at least 50 per cent. of VCA's approved quality procedures.760Wreceive a satisfactory appraisal report on the agency's technical performance from the Department of Transport's chief mechanical engineer.
The key targets for the Vehicle Inspectorate are to:meet the requirements on levels and types of activity laid down in the memorandum of agreement on each road enforcement transport scheme;develop a target for the 1998–99 financial year that will reflect effective provision of a statutory testing service to the industry, taking account of customer survey feedback; for 1997–98, to continue to achieve current test measures, as specified in the business plan;meet the quality and general effectiveness levels as specified in the business plan measures;devise a comprehensive and qualitative system for assessing customer satisfaction against which the performance of the agency can be judged;make an efficiency gain (on the basis on an aggregated cost efficiency index) of 2 per cent;break even while achieving an average 6 per cent. rate of return on capital, over the period 1 April 1991 to 31 March 1998;improve staff awareness and satisfaction as measured through the annual survey;secure the long-term development of the organisation through working for the investors in people award, implementation of an information systems strategy, and commencement of the MOT computerisation project.