§ Mr. Peter Duncan
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many inquiries regarding lost documentation at the British Cattle Movement Service are under investigation. 
§ Alun Michael
The British Cattle Movement Service operates to ISO 9001: 2000 standards, is registered with the British Standards Institute and its operating practices have received the Kite mark. All documents received by the organisation are scanned electronically and recorded on arrival, and great care is taken to avoid any loss.
It is likely that this question refers specifically to movement notifications made by cattle keepers to the British Cattle Movement Service. BCMS has received around 22,000 representations about movement notification failures since May this year from around England, Scotland and Wales. Some cattle keepers have claimed to have told the BCMS about cattle movements, when their computerised records have been cross checked and deficiencies found, as part of the subsidy claims checking process. The Rural Payments Agency and the BCMS check these cases very carefully, and it is not right to assume that the BCMS has lost keepers' movement notification when there is no evidence of the document ever arriving at the BCMS site.
If keepers want to guarantee that their notifications are received by BCMS, they can send them electronically to BCMS using the online system at: www.bcms.gov.uk The BCMS are encouraging all cattle keepers to register their records via the cattle tracing system online.
§ Mr. Duncan
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to improve administrative(a) accuracy and (b) efficiency at the British Cattle Movement Service. 
§ Alun Michael
The cattle passport scheme has been in operation for over six years now and the national cattle database contains the details of the 9.4 million animals that make up the national herd. We are currently investing a further £12 million to upgrade the system and improve its performance.
The British Cattle Movement Service operates to ISO 9001:2000 standards, is registered with the British Standards Institute and its operating practices have received the Kite mark. In addition to paper reporting systems, we have provided online facilities via a website for cattle keepers to register their animals. CTS Online was runner-up in the Government Computer Innovation Award in June 2002. The BCMS is constantly striving to improve their service and efficiency.