Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120 - 123)



  120. Yes, but one would not want to think this was a static process in which one simply reviewed a body as is, took every part of it as being unchangeable and merely checked whether it was working effectively. There has to be some strategic focus to this which looks at its relationship to other bodies. You have emphasised partnership a good deal and whether the balance of power between those partnerships is precisely right, but it does not sound as if you took that opportunity to do that, did you?
  (Mr Astling) No.
  (Miss Bell) We did actually suggest that some of that might be looked into, and it was not.

  121. It was not?
  (Miss Bell) Not as far as we know, but we have not been privy to their findings.

  122. So are there any particular problems about the delayed publication, that maybe you have not been able to do things that you otherwise would have wanted to do?
  (Miss Bell) I think there has been some awkwardness, yes, because people were very aware that the review was being carried out, and I think they may well question whether there is a problem, a problem that probably does not exist, but I think there is the uncertainty that it has created. It has also meant that Board members, for example, could not be offered the full three-year extension, it is only an 18-month extension, so in a minor way I think it probably has caused us some problems.


  123. That may be something we can take up with the Department. Thank you very much indeed. We have had a fascinating couple of hours, and I think we have found it a very stimulating session. I hope you have not found it too gruesome. Thank you very much indeed for coming before us.
  (Mr Astling) Thank you for seeing us. We do have some documents here which people may feel they would like to look at further.

  Chairman: Thank you very much indeed.

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