52. COMMISSION REPORT ON THE RATE
OF UTILIZATION OF THE NEW COMMUNITY INSTRUMENT (NCI) (11891/970)
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to Doug Henderson MP, Minister for Europe, Foreign
and Commonwealth Office
Thank you for your cover note dated 20 February
1998 covering the above Document. I notice that the text of this
Document became available on 4 November 1997 but it has only just
been deposited for scrutiny.
This is yet another recent example of the late
receipt of Documents by this Committee. I should therefore be
grateful for a prompt explanation as to why your Department have
taken so long in submitting this Document.
25 February 1998
Letter from Doug Henderson MP, Minister
for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to Lord Tordoff,
Chairman of the Committee
Thank you for your letter of 25 February about
the date of deposit of this document.
We deposited the document on Monday 15 December,
having received on Friday 12 December the Cabinet Office instruction
to do so. However the cover note was deposited only on Monday
23 February, after we received the appropriate Cabinet Office
instruction on Friday 20 February. I understand the delay arose
from confusion over handling between Cabinet Office and Treasury
officials, after discussion over whether a cover note or an explanatory
memorandum (EM) was required. I understand Treasury officials
will be writing to your Clerks to explain what happened. But I
thought that you might find it helpful to have an initial reply
before I see the Committee tomorrow.
2 March 1998
Letter from Helen Liddell MP, Economic
Secretary to the Treasury, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee
Thank you for your letter of 25 February to
Doug Henderson on the above subject. I am replying on behalf of
the Government, as Minister in the Department responsible for
I am grateful to you for continuing to highlight
problems to me when they arise. This document was deposited late
thanks to a misunderstanding between ourselves and the Cabinet
Office about whether it should go to you under an FCO cover note
or not. Unfortunately, our request that it should go in, was misunderstood
as being subject to confirmation.
I apologise on behalf of the Government for
this slip: my officials will work with the Clerks to both Committees
and officials in the Cabinet Office to produce a list of documents
which should regularly be deposited under a cover note, removing
the possibility of this type of error recurring.
More generally, we are in the process of moving
to an electronic processing system which should in itself reduce
the risk of late delivery to the Committees. I have also asked
officials to monitor documents both before they reach the Treasury
and after they leave us so that we may more frequently spot delays
and potential problems.
17 March 1998
53. MEASURES TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO THE
EUROPEAN COURT OF AUDITORS REPORT
Letter from Helen Liddell
MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman
of the Committee
I am writing with some regret to request that
you consider the above document for scrutiny in advance of ECOFIN
on 9 March.
I apologise for the lateness of this submission.
Administrative errors led to the document being overlooked, and
this is the first such document of its kind; outside the usual
annual cycle of EU Budget documentation to which the Treasury
is geared. I have taken measures to ensure that the proper systems
are in place to stop this happening again.
The document has been submitted to the Council
for information purposes and although the Council will not vote
on it, I would wish your Committee to have considered it in advance.
I attach the relevant explanatory memorandum.
27 February 1998
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to Helen Liddell MP, Economic Secretary to the
Treasury HM Treasury
Thank you for your letter of 27 February 1998
enclosing the above document. Whilst I am grateful for your apologies
for the lateness of its submission I cannot underestimate the
great deal of difficulty the late submission of documents causes
us. I am pleased to hear that you are looking into this problem,
but I am very sorry to have to say that it is happening far too
frequently. Any efforts made by you in this respect would be most
welcome and appreciated as this situation is really becoming quite
4 March 1998