HC Deb 01 May 1968 vol 763 cc194-5W
Mr. Peel

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will define functionalising control of defence finance and functional permanent under-secretaries.

Mr. Reynolds

I assume that the hon. Member wishes me to elaborate on paragraphs 29–32 of Command 3540, which described the basic concept.

Functionalising control of defence finance means, in this context, changing the present system whereby each single Service Department and the Central Defence Organisation control all expenditure within their respective departmental votes. Under the new system financial control will be exercised according to particular categories of expenditure each of which will cover the whole defence requirement for expenditure within that category.

The functional Second Permanent Under-Secretaries of State, under the Permanent Under-Secretary of State, have replaced the three single-Service Second Permanent Under-Secretaries of State. They are responsible respectively to the Minister of Defence for Administration and to the Minister of Defence for Equipment for all the duties in the fields covered by the Ministers' terms of reference which are normally undertaken by a Permanent Under-Secretary.

The functional Permanent Second Under-Secretaries are members of the three Service Boards and will attend their meetings.

The changes made on 1st April are interim and it is intended to introduce revised Defence votes on a new unified Defence vote structure by 1st April, 1970, subject to the agreement of the Treasury, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and Parliament.