§ Mrs. Gilroy
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the key targets for 1998–99 for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. 
§ Mr. Spellar
Consistent with Treasury requirements, DERA is required to achieve a 6 per cent. return on capital employed.
The Agency is required to keep any increase in the hourly manpower rates charged to MOD customers below the annual rise in the Retail Price Index. These manpower rates include overheads and depreciation but not direct contract costs.
DERA will seek to increase income from work for non-MOD customers from the £106 million achieved in 1997–98 to £122 million in 1998–99.
DERA will seek to increase the number of staff elected as Fellows of professional bodies by 10 per cent. from a baseline of 126 at the end of 1997–98 to 139 in 1998–99.
DERA is required to achieve on time 90 per cent. of the agreed milestones on work for MOD customers.
DERA has been set the target of maintaining at least the same score as last year, 655 points out of a possible 1,000, for overall satisfaction in the core questions in the annual customer satisfaction survey and, because of the particular significance of project management skills in the efficient delivery of scientific programmes, to achieve an improvement of 5 per cent. in the score for project management, from 596 points to 626, in the same survey.
DERA will seek to increase the value of its contribution to projects jointly funded by DERA and industry by 10 per cent. from £38.3 million to £42.1 million. DERA will seek to achieve, over a period of 3 years, a 20 per cent. increase in the number of articles that appear in scientific and technical publications and which are subjected to scrutiny and validation by a panel of experts. Under this target, the increase would be from 4.8 publications to 5.8 publications per 100 professionals in DERA, with professionals being defined as all those staff who have a scientific, technical or other specialist background or training.
DERA is required to increase by 50 per cent., from 16 to 24, over a period of three years, the number of its scientific teams that achieve the rating of "world-class" in DERA's technical assessment exercise. The latter involves both internal assessment and validation by outside experts form academia, industry and MOD.