Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Service Delivery Agreement for the Department of Trade and Industry


  The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is accountable to Parliament for the achievement of the objectives set out in the Public Service Agreement and the Service Delivery Agreement, and for the delivery of the targets, and for the resources consumed in the process. The promotion of high quality services to the public is a key priority and the Secretary of State is personally committed to making this a core issue in the implementation of this Service Delivery Agreement.


  The Department's Public Services Agreement sets out its key targets and the performance measures by which these objectives will be judged. The delivery targets are as follows:

Target 1.

Improve the UK's competitiveness by narrowing the productivity gap with the US, France Germany and Japan over the economic cycle.

Joint Target with HM Treasury


  This target will be delivered through the delivery targets from 2 to 12 below. The Department will work to achieve improvement against the annually published competitiveness indicators. It will also seek to achieve a step change in UK business innovation, the impact to be assessed using the regular EU Community Innovation Survey.

Target 2.

Help build an enterprise society in which small firms of all kinds thrive and achieve their potential, with an increase in the number of people considering going into business, an improvement in the overall productivity of small firms, and more enterprise in disadvantaged communities.


  This target will be delivered through the Small Business Service Agency which will work to: increase usage of SBS information services, including the SBS website to 3 million enquiries a year by March 2004, achieving 80 per cent customer satisfaction; increase the productivity and profitability of businesses using SBS business support services; increase the accessibility of business support to identified under-represented communities; increase the number of successful high-growth business start-ups.

Target 3.

Make and keep the UK the best environment in the world to trade electronically, as measured by the cost of internet access and the extent of business to business and business to consumer transactions carried out over e-commerce networks.


  The Department will work with all relevant parties rapidly to take forward the Government's e-commerce strategy, building on the current goal that by 2002 the UK will be the best place to trade electronically. Within a wide-ranging programme it will: ensure the effective development of "UK online for business" including enabling it to handle over 200,000 contacts a year by 2002; ensuring its effective integration with the SBS and its equivalents in the rest of the UK, and introducing new services to help UK businesses keep up with changing business practices. This is part of the cross-Governmental UK online programme. The UK is to be in the top 4 OECD countries for demand of mobile data services by March 2004. Success will be assessed against published independent surveys. The Department will ensure that the UK fully complies with the Local Loop Unbundling Regulation by end-2000, fully implements the E-Commerce Directive by end-2001 and fully implements legislation arising from the European Commission's 1999 communications review by end-2002. These technical and market access issues will greatly facilitate price competition and thus stimulate increased usage both for leisure and business purposes.

Target 4.

Improve the economic performance of all regions measured by the trend in growth of each region's GDP per capita.

Joint target with DETR


  A wide range of the Department's activities and programmes contribute to the achievement of this target, but specifically the Department will use the Regional Assistance and Enterprise Grants to create/safeguard jobs; the Department, with other Departments, will agree a business plan with each RDA, covering each year from 2001-02, establishing the outputs which RDAs should aim to achieve with their budgets, including £50 million a year from the Regional Innovation Fund.

Target 5.

Improve the overall international ranking of the UK's science and engineering base, as measured by international measures of quality, cost effectiveness and relevance.


  DTI and the Office of Science and Technology will deliver this target through increasing the ranking of quality and cost effectiveness and the ranking of relevance of the Science and Engineering Base.

  The OST will implement the Science Research Infrastructure Fund to renew the science infrastructure in universities and invest in three major new cross cutting science programmes: e-science, post genomics and basic technology.

Target 6.

Increase the level of exploitation of technical knowledge derived from the science and engineering base, as demonstrated by a significant rise in the proportion of innovating businesses citing such sources.


  DTI and the Office of Science and Technology will work to achieve this target by: achieving a year-on-year increase in the income the university sector earns from working with business, and from spin outs and licences; increasing the amount of university/company, university/intermediary and university/intermediary/company collaborations; increasing the number of papers jointly authored by the science base and industry.

  DTI and the Office of Science and Technology will also: establish permanent umbrella mechanisms to enable the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) base to work with business, such as the Higher Education Innovation Fund in England (HEIF) and at least 24 Faraday Partnerships in the UK by 2002-3; work with other organisations in the field (eg Regional Development Agencies and the CBI) through the Teaching Companies Scheme (TCS) and Faraday Partnerships to increase the proportion of SMEs employing graduate scientists/engineers; ensure that innovation facilitators employed by Business Links, Faraday Partnerships and similar organisations are properly trained and aware of the scope for exploiting SET knowledge by firms; deliver final rounds of Science Enterprise Challenge and University Challenge by April 2001; develop, in partnership with Higher Education funding Council for England (HEFCE), management arrangements for the HEIF and deliver the first round of allocations by April 2001; work with the Research Councils and others towards their implementation of the Small Business Research Initiative; and help commercialise research by Public Sector Research Establishments.

Target 7.

Have the most effective competition regime in the OECD, as measured by peer review, and achieve a fairer deal for consumers, as measured by the level of consumer knowledge of rights and sources of information and advice.


  The Department will work to achieve this target by: the introduction of a new framework of company law as soon as possible following completion of the Company Law Review; reform of UK merger control by summer 2003, subject to Parliamentary time being available; implementing the Competition Commission report on cars and negotiating a way forward on the EC block exemption which meets UK objectives by 2002; obtaining a 20 per cent reduction in home accidental deaths over the next five years; ensuring that 100 per cent of Trading Standards Departments are signed up to the enforcement concordat by April 2002 and having national performance targets for Trading Standards Departments by April 2001; establishing an effective system of national target setting, monitoring and reporting for Trading Standards Departments by April 2002; ensuring that all of Great Britain is covered by a Consumer Support Network providing accessible and joined-up consumer information and advice by 2004.

Target 8.

Ensure competitive gas and electricity prices in the lower half of the EU/G7 basket, while achieving security of supply and social and environmental objectives.


  The Department (with DETR) will set new Energy Efficiency Commitments for electricity and gas suppliers from April 2002 to deliver energy efficiency savings for the domestic sector. The Department will publish a consultation document for alleviating fuel poverty by December 2000, and finalise the strategy by the summer of 2001. The Department is working urgently to achieve full liberalisation of the gas and electricity markets in the EU as soon as possible.

Target 9.

Improve the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources, including by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent from 1990 levels and moving towards a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010.

Joint target with DETR.


  The Department will deliver this target by securing 10 per cent. of electricity supply from renewables by 2010; Implementing, in a timely and cost effective way, EU Directives that will contribute to improving resource productivity; achieving the targets and outcomes set out in its Sustainable Development Strategy and Action Plan, published on 5 October 2000.

Target 10.

Deliver a measurable improvement in the business performance of Trade Partners UK's customers.

Joint target with FCO.


  British Trade International (BTI) brings together the joint work of the DTI and FCO in support of British trade and investment overseas and inward investment into the UK in a single operation. BTI will publish its own SDA covering the work of its trade support services under the brand name Trade Partners UK and its inward investment work under the brand name Invest UK.

Target 11.

Maintain the UK as the prime location in the EU for Foreign Direct Investment.

Joint Target with FCO.


  See 10.

Target 12.

Achieve value for money improvements of 2.5 per cent. a year across the Department, as measured by a set of indicators.


  See paragraph C.2.


  The Department is fully committed to the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and supports the Government's overall objective for 2.5 per cent of externally procured R&D to be procured from Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). In support of this initiative DTI aims eventually to procure from SMEs 2.5 per cent of the value of the Research Councils' recurrent research grants to universities. In addition, by 2004 DTI aims to increase its non-science budget procurement of R&D from SMEs by 30 per cent (that is from an estimated £3.8 million in 1999-2000 to a projected £5.8 million in 2003-04 (assuming the continuation of current programmes).

  The Department has a modernising programme in place which aims to improve continuously the quality of the policy support and services we provide to Ministers and our customers. It addresses how we can best deliver the Department's overall objectives. The programme comprises work at the centre to modernise the Department and local actions to modernise. Projects to support the SDA targets are reflected in the Modernising DTI Action Plan, which can be found at


  All new measures of performance under the Public Service Agreement or Service Delivery Agreement are scrutinised by a Departmental Audit Group in which is represented Internal Audit, Economics & Statistics Directorate, Finance & Resource Management Directorate and the Competitiveness Unit. Once this group has considered the measures, they are submitted to the Departmental Board for approval. Monitoring is done quarterly.


C.1.  Strategies for improving performance

  Initiatives designed to improve performance are as follows:

    —  The Department is actively considering the introduction of the Excellence Model or similar Benchmarking activities for areas of work where the options of market testing, internal restructuring, contracting out, privatisation or abolition are not applicable. DTI's agencies have already used the model, in some cases as participants in the Public Sector Benchmarking project.

    —  The Department is reviewing all its activities and those of its agencies and NDPBs by the end of 2004 in line with the Better Quality Services initiative and 60 per cent of its activities by March 2003.

    —  The Department is committed to developing its approach to performance management in the light of the work done by Byron Grote in his capacity as a member of the Public Services Productivity Panel. The approach has been piloted in the Energy Group of the Department, developed in the Business Competitiveness Group, and will be rolled out to two further Groups in the course of 2001-2.

    —  The Department is committed to improving its business processes. The ELGAR (Electronic Government through Administrative Re-engineering) PFI/PPP contract, signed with Unitas in 1998, includes a consultancy service giving the Department a permanent business process re-engineering capability. APR studies are currently being carried out in the following areas: Electronic Records and Document Management, Electronic Procurement, Export Licensing, and Secondments and Public Appointments.

    —  The Department is developing a new competence framework for all staff up to the SCS by end March 2001 to ensure that proper weight is given to management and leadership skills. It is also considering whether further changes are required to its staff appraisal system to support improved management of performance.

    —  The Department has already made some changes to its pay system for staff up to the Senior Civil Service in the light of the Civil Service Reform Programme proposals and will review the system on an annual basis.

C.2.  Value for Money

DTI PSA Objective 12

    "To achieve value for money improvements of 2.5 per cent a year across the Department as measured by a set of indicators."

  The level of the DTI Spending Review settlement already assumes efficiency gains of at least 2.5 per cent a year across DTI's activities, and more in the headquarters area. DTI will provide evidence of this by reference to the following set of indicators:

DTI Executive Agencies (and ACAS)

  Agencies funded directly by DTI (including ACAS) make up 29 per cent of DTI administration costs, expenditure in 1998-9 totalling £127 million. The Trading Funds and self-funding Agencies account for a further £121 million in administration costs.

  DTI Agencies have the following value for money public targets, which will be kept under review in the context of Agency corporate plans:

    —  Radiocommunications Agency will achieve a 20 per cent gain in financial efficiency (comparing costs with income at constant levels) over the period 1998-99—2002-03 (an improved efficiency target is under development).

    —  Companies House will continue to achieve real reductions in the unit costs of document registration.

    —  Employment Tribunals Service will achieve an annual real terms reduction in administrative unit costs of 5 per cent.

    —  Insolvency Service will maintain in real terms the unit cost of administering bankruptcy and compulsory liquidation cases over the period 1999-2002 at the level of 1998-99. The Insolvency Service will also reduce in real terms the unit cost of its investigation of bankruptcy and liquidation cases by 10 per cent over the period 1999-2002.

    —  Patent Office will increase output in relation to current expenditure by an average of at least 2 per cent per annum over the period 1998-99 to 2002-03.

    —  National Weights and Measures Laboratory aim to reduce overhead costs from 57 per cent of total costs to 55 per cent of total costs in 2001-02 (approximately £150,000).

  DTI will work with its Executive Agencies in the context of their Quinquennial Reviews to develop and refine outcome-based public targets, demonstrating the contribution the Agencies makes to DTI's PSA targets.

  The Small Business Service is considering how best to extend its work on measuring the impact on assisted businesses of Business Link advice to all its services. The aim would be to monitor the performance of assisted businesses against a comparison group of businesses not receiving SBS assistance.

  DTI will work with ACAS and the Employment Tribunals Service to develop by 2002 a composite measure of the savings achieved for public funds, and for both parties to an Employment Tribunal application, of a successful ACAS conciliation.

Programme expenditure

  The Office of Science and Technology will maintain Research Council's Headquarters administration costs at under 4 per cent of overall Research Council's expenditure. The Department will seek to develop this type of target for other appropriate areas of programme expenditure by 2004. It will also seek a mechanism for comparing the performance of local offices where they are delivering the same or similar grant schemes.

  In addition to the well-established targets on Regional Selective Assistance relating to the generation of capital investment, and the safeguarding and creation of jobs, DTI is exploring the possibility of measures to reflect the extent to which RSA contributes to the competitiveness of the UK economy.

  The Department will develop customer service targets that can be applied across all its main industry support schemes. When such targets have been established, the Department will review all its grant processes in order to achieve them. This may include examining alternative ways of administering grant schemes such as contracting out parts or all of the processes, which is already the case with some grant schemes.

Administration Costs

  The Department will review and develop, as necessary, efficiency indicators for its main industry support schemes, starting with a pilot in RSA, LINK and SMART.

C.3.  Variations in performance

  Where there is scope for comparison between offices carrying out broadly the same functions, management information will be used to explore variations in performance and to develop interventions that will bring any poor performers up to the standard of the rest. Examples are as follows:

  The Insolvency Service has a number of Official Receivers' offices, all carrying out essentially the same functions. The Service will be carrying out a comprehensive process review during 2001-2001, the objectives of which will be to identify best practice and ensure that this is used consistently to produce most efficient, cost-effective and customer-oriented procedures throughout the organisation."

  The Employment Tribunals Service monitors the performance of all its local offices. In each of the last three years an overall target has been set for the speed to which cases come to a hearing. Separate targets are set for the poorest performing offices. Details of performance against targets are published in the ETS's annual report.

  The SBS has plans to level up any variations in the performance of the franchisees that are delivering small business services. They are designing an integrated client management system which will enable the SBS to get access to performance information from across the network that will produce a holistic view of franchise performance including profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction and quality.

C.4.  Procurement

  The Department is reviewing its procurement arrangements and has appointed a professional Head of Procurement to take this forward. Actions underway include:

    —  DTI saves 53 per cent of its costs per transaction by using purchasing cards to buy low value goods and services. By March 2001 DTI expects to process 70 per cent of its low value transactions using purchasing cards.

    —  In accordance with Government wide targets, DTI aims to conduct all of its interactions with suppliers electronically by 2005.

    —  DTI is reviewing procurement posts across the Department to identify those which might be deemed Key Procurement Posts. DTI aims to have 75 per cent of its procurement staff occupying Key posts qualified to degree-level standard in procurement by 2004.

  The Department will be working closely with the Office of Government Commerce in seeking collaborative procurement opportunities across the Government sector. DTI is piloting the OGC gateway process in one of its projects.

C.5. Fraud

Internal Fraud

  The levels of fraud within the core Department are very low. The last contribution to the Treasury's Annual Fraud Report stated that £108,000 of fraud was detected in 1998-99. This level has been fairly stable for the last decade but the Department aims to lower it still further. DTI promotes an environment where fraud is not acceptable and will continue to monitor and report on internal fraud and to issue appropriate guidance to staff as required.

External Fraud

  Evidence suggests that external fraud is also low. The Department has reviewed its procedures for detecting external fraud. DTI promotes an environment where fraud is not acceptable and will continue to review its systems to ensure that every practical step is taken to eradicate the risk of fraud.


D.1.  Consumer tests

  The Department will publish an annual report (available on our website) starting in 2002 demonstrating the impact of consumer feedback on shaping the way in which services have been developed, and analysing the main areas of praise and complaint, giving the Department's response. This report will include breakdown by gender, ethnicity and disability.

  DTI service providers have very well developed systems for seeking users' views on their services and for monitoring performance against Service First standards, which are published in hard copy or on websites. They will seek to keep these at the leading edge. An example of best practice is Companies House which runs quarterly surveys which invite customers to rate the importance of aspects of service and to benchmark the Agency against their best supplier. The results are published. It also has itself tested against other customer-orientated organisations by means of external Mystery Shopping exercises. Other Agencies also use regular surveys and user group consultations on business improvements. The Employment Tribunals Service is now targeting 85 per cent user satisfaction with its service based on surveys. NWML and SBS have also introduced customer satisfaction targets (80 per cent). Several of our key service providers hold the Charter Mark (see D.3 below). These will need to demonstrate their continuing improvement and commitment to excellence in service delivery as they re-apply for the award.

D.2.  Consumer Access

  DTI agencies are continually reviewing the availability of their services including the scope for electronic and on-line service delivery. They will look to maximise access consistent with the requirements of their customers and the technological and other resources available. Key examples from DTI service areas include the introduction and further development of electronic filing of documents (including piloting of Internet filing) by Companies House and their ongoing development of the CH Direct service for making company data available electronically. All of the Insolvency Service's leaflets can be downloaded from its website. The Service plans to put Individual Insolvency Register on their Website in 2000-01. Searches will be able to be carried out free of charge at any OR office or by post to the Insolvency Service HQ in Birmingham. Radiocommunications Agency will continue to use its website to allow radio spectrum auctions to be watched as they happen. This attracted huge interest during the Third Generation Mobile Spectrum auction.

  The Small Business Service Information and Advisory Service (the Gateway: see delivery under PSA target 2 in section B above) will be a major step forward in access to key services and information. Based on a knowledge network of business support organisations, initiatives and information from the public, private and voluntary sectors, this will evolve into an electronic network of databases accessible by phone, the Internet, through the local Business Link franchisee or other Gateway sources of expertise. The Gateway will be established by April 2001.

D.3.  Awards for excellence in service delivery

  The Insolvency Service, the Patent Office and Companies House have already received Charter Mark Awards. Companies House and The Patent Office were among the first agencies to win the award for three consecutive terms. The Employment Tribunals Service aims to re-apply for Charter Mark status in the year 2000 having received a commendation for their first application in 1999. Companies House won two prizes in 2000 for their CH Direct Service in open competition with the private sector—the Price WaterHouseCoopers Award for Innovation and Risk Management and the Digital Britain Award for Best Content & Document Management/Workflow Solution sponsored by Microsoft. The best practice and experience of these bodies will be available to other organisations inside and outside the DTI, which may be considering participation in the Quality Award Schemes and will be shared through the internal and external quality networks they are part of.

D.4.  Prompt handling of correspondence

  DTI Ministers and Agency Chief Executives will respond to letters from MPs within 10 working days of receipt or provide an explanation as to why a full reply cannot be given and a deadline for the full response (target currently under review). The handling of Ministerial correspondence is the subject of an administrative re-engineering study with a view to driving performance against this target up from its 1999-2000 level. The Department has a Service First target to respond to all correspondence from business and the public within 15 days of receipt (ie a 100 per cent target but with a holding reply where necessary).


E.1.  Civil Service Reform

  The Department's key targets for improving the management of its staff are as follows:

IiP Accreditation/Training

  Ensure the DTI headquarters retains and builds on the recognition obtained in November 1999 as an Investor in People, through periodic re-assessment;

  Introduce pilot mentoring schemes during 2000 to assist staff career development and diversity objectives.


  Through putting into practice Departmental Action Programmes for racial equality, gender and disability make progress towards benchmarks agreed for representation of ethnic minorities and women at management levels in the headquarters department as follows:

  Increase representation of ethnic minorities to at least 14 per cent of junior/middle managers (Band B) and 5.5 per cent of middle/senior managers (Band C) and 2.0 per cent in the Senior Civil Service by December 2001, rising to 18 per cent, 8.5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively by 2005 (corresponding April 1999 figures were 11.4 per cent, 4.0 per cent and 0.5 per cent);

  Increase representation of women to 43 per cent of Band B, 32 per cent of Band C and 28 per cent of the Senior Civil Service by the end of 2002 rising to 50 per cent, 40 per cent and 35 per cent respectively by 2005 (1999 figures were 40 per cent, 26 per cent and 21 per cent).

  Increase representation of staff with disabilities to 5.7 per cent of Band B (junior/middle managers), 3.4 per cent of Band C (middle/senior managers) and 3.9 per cent of the Senior Civil Service by end 2002, rising to 6.7 per cent of Band B, 3.8 per cent of Band C and 4.7 per cent of SCS respectively by 2005.

  The Department's action plans for racial equality and widening opportunities for women can be found on the DTI's website at e and opps respectively.


Hold more open competitions as necessary to fill important SCS posts

  Continue to recruit new talent at key levels below the SCS, including at Range 10, and ensure that recruitment activities make a positive contribution to the achievement of the Department's diversity targets.

Interchange targets

  Increase the number of SCS staff with experience outside Whitehall to 65 per cent by 2005 and maintain the number of SCS staff with experience outside the Department at a minimum of 75 per cent.

Provision of comprehensive development programmes, which also offer the most promising performers wider experience in areas of frontline delivery

  Develop by May 2001 a training and development strategy for R10 and 11 staff including a route map of continuous professional and personal development. The programme is to be kept under review and the strategy refined accordingly during the PSA period.

    —  Set up outreach and work placement programme for prospective graduate recruits by March 2001.

    —  Launch by April each year an annual Accelerated Development Programme, taking in up to 40 recruits.

    —  Pilot new career development centres for junior and middle managers designed to enable them better to manage their own careers and development. The target is that 25 per cent of staff in the relevant ranges should have taken the opportunity to develop appropriate career development strategies within two years.

  In recruiting at all levels, the Department will ensure its competitions are fully equality proofed. Insofar as some groups are underrepresented amongst the Department's current staff, the bringing in of high quality new recruits in numbers more representative of the population at large will play an important part in helping to achieve the Department's targets.


  Re-structure the Departmental Management Board from the Summer of 2000 to reflect the Board's prime responsibility for delivery of the targets in the PSA.


  180 SCS staff to attend by March 2002 a development centre at which they receive 360° feedback on their performance and prepare a personal development plan based upon the feedback and other objective assessments of them against the SCS core criteria.


  The Department's Agencies and NDPBs are all subject to rigorous Quinquennial Review as part of the DTI's 5-year Better Quality Services programme. These bodies will in addition undertake their own reviews of activities and contracts where necessary in line with BQS principles. The Department will continue to encourage Agencies and NDPBs in their work to develop performance management systems best designed to deliver outcomes in their particular areas of activity in keeping with the Modernising Government agenda and the latest developments in thinking such as the Makinson report.


  The Department aims to achieve a 7.5 per cent reduction in days lost through sickness per staff year in DTI (including DTI Agencies) on 1998 levels by 2001; and a 13.8 per cent reduction by 2003, to a maximum of 7.4 days and 6.9 days respectively.

  The Department will operate effective occupational health policies and sound management practices which: achieve in the DTI levels of ill health retirement by 2005 consistent with or better than the best quartile target of 3.72 retirements per 1,000 employees; and recognise individual entitlements to ill health retirement where this is justified following consistent, robust but fair application of the scheme criteria.


  DTI is committed to making its key services available electronically by 2005 in line with the Government target. The DTI Electronic Business Strategy shows how we plan to do this via a series of projects, working with other organisations within and outside government. It also describes how we will conform with relevant government standards, covers the skills we believe to be necessary and explains how we deal with the major risks we have identified. It confirms that monitoring of progress to deliver the strategy is firmly embedded in departmental management and planning structures.

  The Department's Information Age Government Champion is Jonathan Spencer. Like other departments, DTI is drafting its initial E-Business Strategy, which will be submitted to the E-envoy's office in October 2000. In this work our IAG Champion is supported by the department's E-Business Strategist and receives advice from the Electronic Business Steering Group, which he chairs.

  As part of the process of developing and implementing its E-Business Strategy, DTI will set and publish targets for take-up of its services.


Improved Policy Development

  DTI is committed to the use of regulatory impact assessment as a policy tool to assess the impact—in terms of costs, benefits and risks—of any proposed regulation that could affect business, charities or the voluntary sector. The Department now intends to undertake a project to review and improve its policy-making processes in line with the Modernising Government agenda. As the basis for the review it expects to:

    —  develop a shared model of the policy development process so that different parts of the Department can benchmark their approaches against each other, using a common vocabulary;

    —  use the model to help in the planned Inter-departmental benchmarking/policy process to be led by Cabinet Office;

    —  identify areas for improvement in current practice, together with examples of best practice for dissemination; and

    —  develop a programme to spread and renew best practice.

  Building on the process analysis work previously undertaken by Unitas and "joined-up" initiatives already underway (eg work co-ordinated by the Department's Strategic Evaluation Committee to assess the evidence base underpinning departmental delivery of its objectives and targets) DTI proposes to consider—with the assistance of consultants as appropriate—how best some of the management tools referred-to in the PIU Report Adding It Up[7] might be adapted to assist key elements of its policy development processes. The Department also plans to undertake detailed consultations with policy development teams in key areas, as well as a series of workshops with a wider range of staff, to test and refine its proposals as they evolve.

  By this means DTI aims to develop the shared model of the policy-making process and reflect best practice whilst meeting the Department's needs, taking account of initiatives already underway such as the Phoenix Fund, which will help to increase awareness of the problems faced by entrepreneurs in deprived areas. It then expects to be able to identify areas for improvement, and to address them in such a way as to develop a culture of continuous improvement, based on evaluation tools built into the policy-making process.

  The Department is firmly committed to enhancing the evidence base of its policymaking and has a rolling programme to assess and publish the evidence base underpinning policy selection relating to each of its objectives under the aegis of the Strategic Evaluation Committee (SEC). Where gaps are uncovered, research programmes will be adjusted to include additional evaluation of relevant policies and appraisal of alternatives so as to achieve evidence based policy.

  DTI proposes to set up processes to spread best practice, and ensure that the model remains up-to-date and relevant to the Department's needs. In particular, it is intended that the model should become a basis for the development of training and guidance material, and should itself be reviewed and updated over time.

  Devolution has had a significant impact on DTI, and to ensure that the Department is working efficiently and effectively with devolved administrations, it will benchmark against other Government Departments, at least once per year, the working arrangements with the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to ensure best practice.

  Finally, the Department's implementation of the SDA will take account of gender differences to ensure the most effective delivery of its policies.

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