HC Deb 18 July 1983 vol 46 c29W
Mr. Macmillan

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to assess the efficiency of governmental support for British exporters; and which Departments or outside organisations are formally involved.

Mr. Channon

The Government's support for exporters is under the guidance of the British Overseas Trade Board. The board consists mainly of business men, an arrangement designed to ensure that the available support matches companies' requirements.

The export services provided under the board's direction have been extensively reviewed and reappraised in recent years. They were the subject of a study by Sir Derek Rayner, following which an action document was published on 30 April 1980. A copy was placed in the Library. The study also raised the question of the organisation of the export promotion work of the Department of Trade and a major reorganisation was subsequently undertaken and completed successfully early in 1982. Later in 1982 the board received the results of two surveys undertaken by independent consultants, one on companies' awareness of the board's services to exporters, the other on exporters' information needs.

In response to the former survey a programme of publicity has been undertaken, whilst following the latter survey a detailed examination is being carried out into the improvement and development of the board's export information services. A firm of management consultants has just been commissioned to carry out a feasibility study and to set out and cost the technical options. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Confederation of British Industry, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, and the committee on invisible exports are represented on the group which is directing this project.

Other areas of the board's work are also the subject of review and reappraisal at present. For example, a firm of marketing research consultants has recently been appointed to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the board's support for British exporters at overseas trade fairs.