Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by the Privy Council Office


  The Privy Council Office is a Government secretariat, and its sphere of operations does not bring it into direct contact with the public on issues of policy. It has no programmes of its own. The Privy Council itself does, of course, cover a great many policy issues, and a number of policy Orders in Council are made at its regular meetings; but the policy (and any consultation that is undertaken) is the responsibility of the Departments that sponsor the Orders.

  I was the Cabinet Minister responsible for driving the UK's preparations on the Millennium Bug—supported by a team in the Cabinet Office rather than the Privy Council Office, one aspect of this programme was monthly independent tracking research of public perceptions of the issue—the Government's public information campaign, including three UK-wide booklets, responded to and was adapted according to the findings of that research (one of which was that members of the public were expecting information to be provided to them by the Government). The results of the research were also made available to the general public via written answers to Parliamentary Questions.

  I do not think, therefore, that this Department can make a major contribution to the Committee's inquiry, but I and my officials would be very happy to provide further information about our activities if it would be helpful.

Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP

19 April 2000

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