Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence


DTI organisation structure


The Strategy Unit

  1.  The new organisation includes a new Strategy Unit to provide a significantly strengthened analytical and strategic core at the heart of DTI. That team will include a new Chief Economist, recruited by open competition, who will be able to speak, both within and outside the Department, with authority on industrial economic issues.

Business Relationship Management and Business Support group

  2.  The new organisation brings together the most customer-focused activities into a new Group that will concentrate on managing and supporting relationships with key business customers. It will include:

    —  business support. Our customers tell us they are confused by the plethora and bureaucracy of schemes, initiatives and other activities we offer to support businesses. We plan to sort out that muddle, cutting out ineffective schemes, simplifying our procedures and making sure the schemes have maximum impact. We will do this through a new portfolio approach. At the same time we will make sure that our delivery of business support matches the best in business by focusing the Small Business Service (SBS) more directly on delivery;

    —  sectoral links with business. Our approach to sponsorship will become more keenly focused on understanding better the competitive forces affecting industries and working more closely with those firms where we can add real value in line with our productivity priorities. The links between the sectoral sponsorship role and other delivery partners such as the Regional Development Agencies will be strengthened;

    —  regional policy. The regional dimension is crucial for DTI. One of the key messages from our stakeholders was that they were confused about who does what in the regions. It will be important therefore to clarify the roles of the various agencies. The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) should continue to set the regional economic strategies, while access to business support should, as far as possible, be through Business Links. We see a continued need for a strong DTI presence in Government Offices, but we see their role changing, with a much greater emphasis on influencing the whole range of government activity in the regions which affects business and on playing a stronger role in helping to shape policy and strategy in partnership with colleagues at the centre. We also want Government Offices to develop their role as the "eyes and ears" of the Department around the regions; this will include monitoring the performance of RDAs and other regional players.

  3.  To make roles and responsibilities clearer in the regions, and to allow the Government Offices to focus fully on their new role, we propose to transfer responsibility for Regional Selective Assistance cases (other than the large cases) from the Government Offices to the RDAs. The large cases, which have national significance, will remain for Ministers to decide supported by the Industry Development Advisory Board and the professional advisers in the Department's Industrial Development Unit. Responsibility for the Enterprise Grants and Smart schemes for SMEs will transfer to the SBS.

Science, Technology and Innovation Group

  4.  We will create a new Group, to be headed by someone with strong scientific and technological credentials, to be recruited by open competition, who will work closely with the Director General for Research Councils and the government's Chief Scientific Adviser. Amongst other things, the Group will work to integrate our policy-making on science, innovation and technology with our productivity agenda. A key objective for the Group will be to maximise the Government's significant investment in science by providing a sharper focus on technology transfer within DTI.

Research Councils

  5.  We will retain the independence of and build on the excellence of our science base. The Director General for Research Councils will continue to be responsible for managing our nearly £2 billion investment in scientific research. The Director General will also sit on a newly established Knowledge Transfer Strategy Committee, along with the head of Science, Technology and Innovation Group and the Chief Scientific Adviser and others, to ensure that we make the most of the knowledge that comes from our investment in the science base.

Competitive Frameworks

  6.  This Group will bring together work on setting the framework for business and markets including better regulation, competition, the high productivity workplace, consumer protection and company law. Importantly, the Group will also draw in our Trade Policy and European Policy activities through which we influence the development of European and international business frameworks.

Core Services

  7.  This Group will have a vital role in driving and delivering the change programme outlined here and which will be developed over the next few months. A key challenge for the Core Services Group Board and for those who work on the development of policy and delivery of our corporate services—human resources, finance, IT, accommodation etc—will be to draw on wider perspectives in taking forward the modernisation agenda in the Department.

  8.  The Core Services Group will also be responsible for general policy in relation to Agencies and for the management of a number of individual Agencies (including Companies House, The Insolvency Service, The Employment Tribunals Service and ACAS). The Group will continue to build on their strengths in modern governance, customer focus and service delivery. The Group will also be responsible for other delivery functions including Export Control and Nuclear Proliferation and the Redundancy Payments Service.


  9.  One of the objectives of our review was to see if we could better integrate the Energy Group into the rest of the Department. That is still the objective and we aim fully to achieve it in about two years. But Energy is a large and complex Group and the transition from a separate Group needs to be carefully managed. A new Director General for Energy will be appointed for a proposed two-year period to take forward the work arising from the PIU Energy review and oversee and manage the transition whilst ensuring that Energy policy issues continue to be addressed at a very senior level.

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Prepared 26 March 2002