Previous Section Index Home Page

Review Bodies

Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he plans to improve the opportunities for (a) members of the House and (b) members of the public to become members of task forces and other ad hoc and review bodies; [58004]

Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office's annual report on task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews was produced in October 2001 and a copy is in the Library.

21 May 2002 : Column 289W

The report contains details of the date of establishment of each body, as well as the membership of each, broken down into Ministers, civil servants, wider public servants, volunteers or charity workers and others, including private sector members. Information on the numbers of members who are Lords, representatives of trade unions and representatives of consumers specifically is not recorded. There is no restriction on Members of Parliament or members of the public being appointed to a task force, ad hoc advisory body or review, subject to any actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews are, by their nature, created to provide advice on a particular subject or subject area. However, in order to carry out their functions, their memberships will consist of those best able because of their position, knowledge or experience, or best qualified to contribute. Individual Departments are responsible for announcing, setting up and organising the membership of these bodies as required.

The Government remain committed to increasing the involvement of people and groups in public consultations, which play an important part in improving the way new policies are developed and how new services are provided. The Code of Practice on written consultation published by Cabinet Office sets out new standards for consultation documents issued by the Government aimed at making it easier for people to put their views forward to ensure a wider range of views is heard in making decisions.

Better Regulation Task Force

Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who the members of the Better Regulation Task Force are; what their other occupations are; and what the date of their appointment was. [58006]

Mr. Leslie: The Chairman of the Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF), David Arculus, was appointed on 1 April 2002. The other 15 members were appointed on 29 April 2002. A list of their names and principal organisation is as follows:

21 May 2002 : Column 290W

A Register of members' interests is available on the Task Force website at regulation/TaskForce/members.htm.

Committee Mandates

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the mandate of the Committee on the Community Action Programme in the field of civil protection is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56807]

Mr. Leslie: The mandate of Committee for the Action Programme and for the Mechanism in the Field of Civil Protection, which is composed of representatives of all the member states and is chaired by a representative of the Commission, is to implement the Community Action Programme.

The UK currently has two projects under consideration for funding, one each from the Home Office and the Red Cross.

The committee has met five times in the past 12 months, and a member of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the Cabinet Office represents the UK.

The Committee comes under the remit of the Community Mechanism to facilitate reinforced co-operation in civil protection assistance interventions. This has been subject to scrutiny by Parliament. The Committee's work is made known to the Emergency Planning community throughout the European Union and reports are available on EU websites.

The costs to public fund are included in the total running costs of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Charities and Voluntary Bodies (Funding)

Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from charities and voluntary bodies about the administrative burden applying to funding sources from national and local government and other bodies with different (a) timetables, (b) criteria and (c) monitoring systems; and what plans he has to ease this burden. [52230]

Mrs. Roche: There are several linked initiatives taking place across Government aimed at easing the administrative burdens that may face voluntary and community sector bodies when they apply for funding.

The Regional Co-ordination Unit (RCU) of the Cabinet Office has undertaken a study to explore how regeneration and community funding can be made more accessible.

In addition the Home Office's Active Community Unit (ACU) is developing a pilot website to provide information on grants available to voluntary and community sector organisations. This is part of a wider ACU exercise aimed at introducing a more integrated and accessible approach to the Government funding of community groups, particularly small grant schemes.

21 May 2002 : Column 291W

The Regional Co-ordination Unit has, since October 2001, been carrying out a series of reviews to better co-ordinate and rationalise central Government initiatives targeted on areas of deprivation, many of which involve voluntary agencies in delivering services or working in partnership with statutory agencies.

In each of these initiatives, representatives from the sector have been closely involved in shaping conclusions and recommendations.



Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the difference was between the price offered in reaching preferred bidder stage and the final contract price for the five largest PFI contracts let by his Department in each of the last four years; and if he will make a statement; [45590]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 25 March 2002]: A preferred bidder stage was used to cover seven of the nine PPP deals managed by this Department and let in the last four years. Of these seven PPP deals, five are also PFIs. Details of the use of the preferred bidder stage in letting these deals are provided below.

Five PPP deals for IS/IT support, of which three are also PFIs, have been let to date under the ACCORD Project. For evaluation purposes, ACCORD used the preferred bidder stage for the initial selection of partners against a set of typical service package scenarios. Ultimate business allocations, such as Child Support Reform support, which make up the five deals, were always likely to be packaged differently and this proved to be the case. There is therefore no simple correlation between prices offered at preferred bidder stage and final prices for individual business allocations. The ACCORD framework provides for internal competition to select suppliers for individual business allocations and secure value for money. Further to such internal competition ongoing value for money is established by means of independent benchmarking of suppliers prices.

The procurement leading to the PRIME PPP/PFI deal covering ex-DSS estate ownership and management and let in April 1998 selected Partnership Property Management (now Land Securities Trillium) as preferred bidder. At the selection of preferred bidder stage the price offered was £1.93 billion. In subsequent negotiation it was agreed to re-measure the estate and as a result the scope of the deal increased, other service improvements were also secured. These changes resulted in the price increasing by £78 million. The PRIME procurement was examined by the NAO in 1999 and the resulting deal was considered to represent value for money.

The Employment Service procurement leading to the PPP/PFI contract for human resources services, including payroll and personnel administration, selected the joint proposal from Rebus Resources Services and Norwich Systems Accounting as the preferred bid. Subsequent

21 May 2002 : Column 292W

negotiations to final contract, awarded in February 1999, secured a reduction of £530,000 in price over the term of the contract.

Next Section Index Home Page