HC Deb 21 March 1991 vol 188 cc202-3W
Mr. Ian Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action has been taken following publication of the efficiency scrutiny of Government funding of the voluntary sector.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

On 4 April last year, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell),Official Report, column 639, my predecessor announced the publication of the efficiency scrutiny of Government funding of the voluntary sector. He said that this would provide the basis for improving arrangements to ensure that the money was used both efficiently and for good purposes. Generally, the report has had a favourable response both within the voluntary sector and elsewhere.

Departments have now considered the scrutiny recommendations as they affect individual grant schemes and have drawn up action plans for taking forward and implementing these recommendations. The aim will be to implement all the agreed changes by September 1993, but some Departments will be able to put new arrangements in place earlier.

I am placing in the Library a statement, "Profiting From Partnership—The Implementation Process", explaining the action which Departments will be taking. This will also be available to voluntary organisations and other interested parties on request from the voluntary services unit in the Home Office.

The majority of the recommendations of the scrutiny report fall to be considered in relation to each grant scheme or programme individually. In general, these are accepted where they are applicable and, where they are not already departmental practice, will be implemented in the light of the principles set out in the statement of 4 April 1990. However, not all the recommendations are applicable to all individual grant schemes and programmes.

There are also a number of recommendations which relate to the role of the voluntary services unit—VSU—of the Home Office. The VSU intends to issue a revised statement of its role later in 1991. The VSU will also be taking the lead in co-ordinating the work to affect the implementation of those recommendations which are cross-departmental.

Preliminary discussions have been held with the voluntary sector about the scrutiny report in general. Departments will take account of the views of the organisations that they fund and of representative bodies working within their policy areas in carrying out the process of review.