HC Deb 22 December 1988 vol 144 cc380-1W
Mr. Thurnham

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will arrange for standardisation of all procedures and paper work issued, by the agencies administering enterprise initiatives; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will list the various procedures and documentation required by agencies administering enterprise initiatives.

Mr. Newton

[holding answer 16 December 1988]: The scheme contractors responsible for administering the assisted consultancy schemes under the enterprise initiative are:

The marketing initiative The Institute of Marketing (through four sub-contractors)
The manufacturing systems initiative Production Engineering Research Association (PERA)
The quality initiative PERA (except in the North West which is covered by Salford University Business Services Ltd.)
The design initiative The Design Council
The business planning initiative 3i Enterprise Support Ltd. (3iES)
The financial and information Systems initiative 3iES

The functions of the contractors are carried out in a comparable way, subject to local operational flexibility. These functions are to maintain lists of suitable consultants in their respective areas of expertise, to match the needs of applicants (as identified by a DTI enterprise counsellor) with an appropriately qualified consultant, to assess consultants' reports, and to pay them the part of the fee due from DTI.

As regards the listing of consultants, the same approach is required of all scheme contractors. Each consultancy practice must either have had at least two years' experience as an independent consultancy practice, or one year's experience as an independent practice, plus five previous and consecutive years' relevant consultancy experience by the principals with another practice. In addition, a practice should be able to cite evidence of satisfaction by clients in respect of four assignments.

My Department monitors the performance of the scheme contractors closely and is concerned to ensure that a standard, high-quality service is delivered. It stands ready to investigate evidence of difficulties experienced by applicant firms or consultancy practices.