HL Deb 26 July 1990 vol 521 cc1774-5WA
Lord Elton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans there are for organisational developments with the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.

Baroness Trumpington

The Government have reviewed the options for the future organisation of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS). As my right honourable friend, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced in a reply to my honourable friend the Member for Ludlow on 26th February, the Central Veterinary Laboratory and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate became executive agencies from 2nd April 1990. The State Veterinary Service will transfer from ADAS to the Ministry's Food Safety Directorate on 1st August 1990.

The Central Science Laboratory of the Research and Development Service (RDS) is largely engaged on work directly supporting government policies, particularly on plant health, environmental and wildlife issues. The Government have concluded that this laboratory is not a candidate for privatisation but that it should be established as a separate executive agency.

The Farm and Countryside Service (FCS) is engaged to a substantial degree on providing consultancy and other services to farmers and others. The aim is that these commercial services should achieve full cost recovery in due course. The FCS also provides important services to support various areas of the Government's policy work. It is important that a commercial framework and incentives should be established for this work undertaken for government.

We have therefore concluded that the FCS, together with the experimental husbandry farms and other units in the field R&D division of the research and development service, should be established as a separate agency with the intention that it will as soon as possible become a trading fund. The Government believe that privatisation could, in the longer run, be the logical development for such an organisation.

My right honourable friend the Minister is arranging for detailed studies to be put in hand to define precisely the functions to be undertaken in each of the two new agencies and the arrangements for ensuring, that full collaboration is maintained between them. It is his intention that both the CSL and the FCS/RDS field R&D division should achieve agency status by 1st April 1992. The drafting of the agency framework agreements will also be carried forward.

My right honourable friends, the Secretary of State for Wales, and the Minister will consider what arrangements for the FCS might apply in Wales.

These changes will have important implications for the organisation of the Ministry, including particularly the regional and divisional organisation. The Minister is therefore commissioning an internal review of the organisation needed to undertake the other functions of the regions and divisions.