§ Mr. Keetch
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has undertaken with the AWS and WRVS regarding the line management 677W accountability of WRVS employees; what advice he has received; what decisions have been taken; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Spellar
[holding answer 2 February 2000]: The Ministry of Defence is currently engaged with the Womens' Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) in negotiating the renewal of their contractual relationship. The WRVS, like the Service Sound and Vision Corporation, the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (Forces Help), is a charitable-based organisation working in partnership with the Services. WRVS employees, working with the Army are line managed and appraised annually by their National Director and the Commanding Officer of the Unit to which they are assigned. The WRVS maintains a regular dialogue with the Directorate of Personal Services (Army). This process ensures that the WRVS is apprised of developments in Welfare Policy and practices in the Army.
Welfare is a function of the Chain of Command within the Army. The Army Welfare Service (AWS) fulfils only one part, albeit an important part, of the overall delivery of welfare support within the Army. They are an in-house organisation providing specialist support and advice to Army individuals, their dependent families and the Chain of Command. Their activity is focused on the LAND Command component of the Army, although they can provide a point of contact for the Army based elsewhere. Where the AWS operate alongside the WRVS, they do so in partnership, each bringing particular and complementary skills to the overall welfare delivery. There is no direct line management relationship between the AWS and the WRVS.