Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 1200 - 1205)



  1200. I am suggesting that there is someone whose job it is to sort some of this nonsense out inside departments, so people can go to these people and say "look, it is stupid that we are being asked to report endlessly in this way, let us just get on with the job". I am offering this as a suggestion. The final question I would ask you is over the last years, and in the previous government particularly, we have had the notion of compliance cost assessments being developed in relation to legislation.
  (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Yes.

  1201. For business.
  (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Yes.

  1202. Is there not a very strong case for having a similar compliance cost system introduced for the public sector? The assumption seems to be that these things come cost free but, in fact, they are hugely costly.
  (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) You mean you should be assessing the bureaucratic burden on schools, hospitals?

  1203. Yes. For each initiative that comes in, whether directed at local government or anywhere else, you have to put with it some serious assessment of what the cost of this is going to be to that organisation.
  (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I can see real merit in that. It would be a discipline that would force people to think about it. I have not thought about the practicalities so you cannot regard me as committing anybody to it, but I can see that it would be a discipline, like in relation to Regulatory Impact Assessments, where you are forced to think about what the cost to business is of doing a particular legislative proposal.

Mr Trend

  1204. Would it come within the discipline of setting up units?
  (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) It would. Presumably you would have to say you have got to get your area based initiatives through the RCU and the benefit would be, hopefully, less initiatives.


  1205. We will have to stop. I think we have had a most interesting exchange with you. Thank you very much indeed for coming along. We wish you well with your endeavours. We have not mentioned the Dome.
  (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Indeed.

  Chairman: Thank you very much.

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