HC Deb 09 July 1984 vol 63 cc395-6W
Mr. Maples

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps have been taken by his Department since May 1979 to improve its efficiency; what has been the result; what further steps are curently being taken to improve efficiency; what the results are expected to be; and what output criteria have been developed by his Department to help measure its efficiency.

Mr. King

As part of the Government initiative on financial management, the Department has adopted a programme of senior management reviews, reporting to Ministers on the objectives, structure and performance of individual commands. We are currently setting up a resource information system which will provide the basis for developed budgeting across the Department in 1985.

The Department published in February 1984 a report on its implementation of the financial management initiative in the previous year, which referred to a number of output and performance indicators; copies of the report were placed in the Library. Similar developments are taking place in other parts of the Department of Employment group and these are outlined in a White Paper which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be publishing shortly.

Since 1979, over 200 efficiency studies and reviews have been undertaken within the group, including Rayner scrutinies, staff inspections and management services and audit reviews. These have produced staff savings of some 4,600, including 1,350 following a study of the payment of benefits to unemployed people and 600 as a result of a review of jobcentre services. Further savings are expected to flow from other studies and initiatives under way, including improved computer systems in the unemployment benefit service; and we are participating in multi-Department reviews of accommodation and identifying internal talent. The group currently plans to make savings of 1,450 posts in 1984–85.