§ Mr. Stevens
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has identified any further candidates for agency status under the "next steps" initiative within his Department.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
Following a detailed feasibility study, I have identified my Department's medicines control agency as a candidate for executive agency status.
I am confident that the move to agency status will be beneficial enabling the agency to operate with greater freedom and clearer responsibility within an agreed framework of objectives, performance targets and resources, thus enhancing the agency's ability to safeguard public health through the control of medicines.
Detailed discussions on an agency framework document have been set in hand with a view to establishing the medicines control agency as an executive agency in 1991.
I will be considering other candidates for agency status in due course.