HC Deb 05 March 1984 vol 55 cc425-6W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment for what reason his Department asked the consultants Arthur Young, McClelland, Moores and Co. to investigate the national parks; what were their terms of reference; what will be the full cost of the consultants' work; and what action he is taking based on their report.

Mr. Waldegrave

The study was commissioned to examine the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of national park authorities and to provide a clearer basis for determination of the national park supplementary grant. The consultants' terms of reference were:

To develop common definitions for accounting and statistical analysis and comparison purposes, based on key National Park Authority (NPA) activities;

To develop practical performance measures around each key activity using a combination of financial and nonfinancial measures;

To undertake a number of value for money reviews of administrative and support expenditure;

To analyse and make recommendations on the economy and efficiency of NPAs in discharging their functions, and

To assess the adequacy of the resources available for the pursuance of activities directed towards quantifiable objectives.

The cost of the study was approximately £100,000. National park authorities, local authority associations and the Countryside Commission are currently considering the various recommendations and my Department has had some preliminary discussions on the findings with those immediately concerned. I expect to make a fuller statement later in the year, when consultations are complete.