§ Mr. Andrew George
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the change in the degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction among service personnel relating to the clothing they are issued with over the last five years; and on what evidence this assessment is based. 
§ Mr. Spellar
The bulk of the procurement of clothing for service personnel is carried out through the Defence Clothing & Textiles Agency and I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Michael Roycroft to Mr. Andrew George, dated 28 April 1998:I am replying to your Question to the Secretary of State for Defence about the degree of satisfaction amongst service personnel relating to clothing they are issued with, as this matter falls within my area of responsibility as the Chief Executive of the Defence Clothing & Textiles Agency (DCTA).The degree of satisfaction amongst service personnel related to clothing can be assessed by various methods including Continuous Attitude Survey, Availability, Defect Reports and other evidence from Service representatives or their personnel. In addition DCTA produces a Monthly Bulletin, a Quarterly Situation Report to all customers and holds 6 monthly Customer Days, to which all Top Level Budgets are invited to be represented, to discuss individual item problems and forecasts of future supply shortages.Continuous Attitude Surveys are carried out on behalf of the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. A small number of questions which relate to clothing issues are included in all three Service surveys, however, only the Army are asked questions relevant to clothing satisfaction. I attach a graphical representation of the answers received to two questions asked over the last five years in the Army Attitude Survey. These graphs show that satisfaction with combat clothing and working dress has improved with time; overall availability of working dress has improved by 27% in the last three months to February 1998. A DCTA survey into clothing issues had been prepared, but it was agreed that for the time being we should rely on the Continuous Attitude Survey.DCTA do request that personnel finding fault with clothing send in Defect Reports to us and we record defect investigation findings under the following headings: Fair Wear & Tear, Abuse/Misuse, Design Failure, Unjustified or Justified Quality Assurance Failure. Most of the findings over the last three financial years have fallen under the last two headings, although the number of defect reports is very small in number, 187 in the last year, when compared to the overall customer base of 408,000 Armed Forces and other 64W organisations personnel. Overall every effort is made to brief the customer of past, present and future problems. There is also a well publicised help-line for queries from Service personnel.
'Soldiers: How do you feel about the Quality of combat clothing and personal equipment' percentage June 1993 June 1994 June 1995 June 1996 March 1997 Very poor 15 12 12.5 10 8.5 Poor 29.5 26 21.5 22 15.5 OK 35 36.5 37 35 37.5 Good 18 21 23 28 28.5 Very good 3.5 5 6 6 10
'Soldiers: How do you feel about the Quality of normal working dress' percentage June 1993 June 1994 June 1995 June 1996 March 1997 Very poor 7 5 6 7 6.5 Poor 16.5 18.5 16.5 19 16.5 OK 50 47.5 46 47 44.5 Good 22.5 24.5 24.5 23 25.5 Very good 4 5 8.5 4 7