HC Deb 16 December 1992 vol 216 cc193-204W
Mr. Bayley

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list and describe briefly each of the initial commitments in the citizens charter to which he referred in his oral statement of 25 November,Official Report, column 869, and give against each of these commitments the level of performance currently being achieved.

Mr. Waldegrave

The citizens charter is a major programme of improvement to our public services. The aim is a comprehensive and durable change in the way that the services are managed and delivered, so that the citizen always comes first. Initial commitments were set out in the original "Citizen's Charter" White Paper of July 1991, Cm. 1599. The bulk of these, and much more, have already been delivered, as the "Citizen's Charter First Report: 1992", Cm. 2101 shows. The table summarises the original specific commitments and how they have been met or put in hand. References are to Cms. 1599 and 2101 where fuller descriptions can be found.

The Government's position is one of openness and constant improvement, and progress against remaining Cm. 1599 commitments, the new commitments in Cm. 2101, and the further commitments we shall be making will also be published from time to time.

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Implementation Unit and Panel of Advisers to be set up (p.7). Met. Citizens' Charter Unit and Prime Minister's Advisory Panel set up July 1991.
Patient's Charter to be published in England, Scotland and Wales (p. 10). Met. England—October 1991 Scotland—September 1991 Wales—October 1991 (p. 5).
Health authorities to produce charters specific to their own services. (p. 11). Met. Local standards set by all health authorities in England. Local charters published in all health authorities in Wales; all health boards in Scotland; all four health and social services boards in Northern Ireland. (p. 5).
Hospitals to set out for patients the standards of service they offer. (p. 11). Met. Standards set out in Patient's Charters and local charters (p. 5).
NHS Management Executive to set out the main areas in which local standards must be set, monitored and published. (p. 11). Met. Set out in Patient's Charter (p. 5).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
District health authorities (health boards in Scotland) to set standards for service in their contracts with hospitals (p. 11). Met. District health authorities required to ensure that all relevant Patient's Charter standards are included in contracts with provider units (p. 5).
Targets to be published maximum admission times to hospital (p. 11). Met. Contained in Patient's Charters (p. 5).
Specific times to be set for hospital outpatient appointments (p. 11). Met. Contained in Patient's Charters (p. 5).
Parent's Charters to be published (p. 14). Met. Published in England, Scotland, Wales in 1991; in Northern Ireland in 1992 (p. 10).
All parents to receive a written report on their child's progress (p. 14). Met. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland parents now receive a written report once a year. In Scotland new report cards to be issued in 1992–93 (p. 10).
Schools, further education and sixth form colleges to publish their annual public exam results in a common format (p. 14). In hand. Published November 1992 by DFE in relation to schools. FE and sixth form colleges requested to publish the information in 1991–92. Publication compulsory from Autumn 1993 (p. 10–11).
Comparative information on all schools to be collected and published locally (p. 14). In hand. Comparative information on public exam results sent out through schools, LEAs and public libraries in November 1992 (p. 10).
Audit Commission to be empowered to publish comparative tables on efficiency of administration and support services in different LEAs. (p. 14). In hand. Audit Commission consulting on a range of indicators.
Regular and independent inspection of all schools with the results reported to parents. (p. 14). Met. OFSTED (England) and OHMCI (Wales) will inspect schools regularly (p. 50).
Schools to publish truancy information (p. 14). Met. School prospectuses and governors' annual reports now required to include truancy rates (p. 10).
Guide to the National Curriculum to be reissued (p. 14). Met. Published in 1991.
Independent lay assessors to be appointed to Appeals Tribunals (p. 49). In hand. Measure in Education Bill now before Parliament (p. 12).
Improved Tenant's Charter to be published for local authority tenants. (p. 15). Met. Charters published in Scotland in 1991; in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1992 (p.28).
More freedom to exercise the right to transfer to a new landlord. (p.15). In hand. First two transfers to housing associations have taken place. (p.28).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Local authorities to delegate management to tenant bodies. (p.16). To come. DOE to issue consultation document on delegated management shortly.
Tenants to bid for Housing Action Trusts (p.15). In hand. HATs being set up in Liverpool, Hull and Waltham Forest (p.28).
CCT to be extended to local authority housing management (p.16). In hand. Consultation document published June 1992. Paving legislation introduced (p.29).
All tenants to receive information about standards of local authority housing management performance (p.15). Met. Annual reports to Tenants published in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Legislation introduced to extend this to Scotland (p.28).
Improved rights of repair for council tenants' homes. (p.15). In hand. Primary legislation introduced. Implementation planned for 1994. (p.29).
Local authorities to be encouraged to introduce improved refurbishment contracts. (p.16). In hand. Guidelines to be published shortly (p.29).
Stronger Tenants Guarantee for housing association tenants (p. 16). Met. Published in 1991 in England and in September 1992 in Wales.
British Rail to publish a Passenger's Charter (p.17). Met. Published March 1991 (p.18)
BR to review and publish its conditions of carriage (p. 17). In hand. To be published by the end of 1992 (p. 18).
BR to display figures for reliability and punctuality at stations (p. 17). Met. "TrackRecord" displayed at major stations throughout Britain (p. 17).
BR staff who deal with the public to wear name badges (p. 17.) In hand. All BR stag who come in to direct contact with the public are to wear name badges by the end of 1992 (p. 17).
BR to restructure pay for key staff better to reflect performance (p. 17). In hand. New pay restructuring deals incorporating performance pay introduced for some 25,000 staff, including uniformed station staff and engineers. Similar deals being negotiated for a further 40,000 staff.
BR to accelerate with its contracting out programme (p. 17). In hand. Contracting out of train and station cleaning begun. Contracting out of other support functions being considered (p. 66).
London Underground
London Underground to publish a Customers Charter (p. 49). Met. Published in Summer 1992 (p. 18).
New quality of service targets to be published (p. 18). Met. 12 new quality of service objectives set in May 1992 (p. 18).
Performance against targets to be published (p. 18). Met. Performance information available from ticket offices and customer service centres.

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Information on targets and performance to be displayed prominently (p. 18). Met. Information displayed at every underground station (p. 18).
Compensation scheme to be publicised more widely (p. 49). Met. New refund scheme introduced and advertised at every station (p. 18).
London Underground to accelerate its contracting out programme (p. 18). In hand. Tenders invited for the maintenance on the Bakerloo line trains (p. 66).
Performance related pay to be extended to drivers, guards, signalling staff and other grades (p. 18). In hand. Performance related pay to be developed and extended (p. 67).
Larger proportion of LT board members pay to be linked to performance (p. 18). Met. Percentage determined by performance increase from 16 per cent. to 35 per cent. (p. 67).
Driving tests
Driving standards Agency to introduce telephone booking (p. 19). Met (p. 15).
Driving standards Agency to accept payment by credit card or payment card (p. 19). Met (p. 15).
Driving Standards Agency to introduce tests on summer evenings and Saturday afternoons (p. 19). Met (p. 15).
Driving Standards Agency to explore feasibility of Sunday tests (p. 19). Met. Idea explored and option not pursued (p. 15).
Motorway service areas
Development of motorway service areas be deregulated (p. 19). Met. New arrangements introduced in 1992 (p. 15).
The Employment Service to publish Charter (p. 21). Met. Jobseeker's Charter published in December 1991 (p. 27).
Details of all services to be displayed in all local offices (p. 20). Met. Posters and leaflets in all local offices (p. 25).
National targets to be published each year (p. 20). Met. Targets set and published (p. 25).
Performance against national targets to be published in the Employment Service's annual report, (p. 20). Met. Employment service annual report available in every local office gives results (p. 25).
Local targets, to be displayed at all Job Centres, to include: waiting times; telephone answering targets; promptness and accuracy in benefit payments and information about local labour market (p. 20). Met. Local offices display all standards as described. These match or better national standards.
Local office network to be integrated (p. 20). In hand. Programme will be completed by the mid 1990. (p. 27).
Integrated Offices to offer pleasant, well designed office interiors (p. 20). Met. All new integrated offices have been refurbished.

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
People attending Job Centres for advisory interviews to see the same person on each occasion where possible (p. 20). In hand. By April 1993 clients will normally see the same person each time (p. 35).
Local managers to decide opening hours suitable to clients within a minimum of 36 hours a week (p. 21). Met. Arrangements in place (p. 25).
Annual national customer surveys to continue, supplemented by local customer surveys (p. 21). Met. 1991 annual survey has been published. Local customer satisfaction surveys piloted this year and to continue (p. 25).
All offices to have easy to use complaints arrangements. Names of local manager, area manager to be displayed (p. 21). Met. New complaints/suggestions procedure published in leaflet "Help us to get it Right … And How to Complain" (p. 25). Names of the area manager and local contacts for complaints displayed in each local office.
For individuals needing care, more reliable information to be available on services (p.21). Met. Since April 1992 local authorities required to publish annual community care plans.
Individual care plans to be provided. (p.21). In hand. From April 1993 people requiring community care services to be able to ask local authority for assessment of their needs; their views and preferences and those of their carers to be taken into account in all decisions about their care.
Inspection to be independent of services (p21). Met. Inspection units, set up by local authorities in April 1991 at arms' length from directly managed services.
Complaints procedures to be improved and made more independent (p.21). Met Statutory complaints procedures introduced during 1991 now fully operational.
For people in residential care clear standards of service and quality to be identified and promulgated (p.21). Met. Guidance on standards settings published by HMSO in four volumes in a "Caring for Quality" series. Work on the fifth and final volume has started.
Benefits Agency
Customer Charter to be published (p.22). Met. Published January 1992 (p.27).
National targets to be set and published for main services (p.22). Met. In Customer Charter (p.27).
Equivalent targets for districts to be published and displayed. (p.22). In hand. By the end of 1992 all 159 districts will display local targets and standards (p.27).
Annual report to be published. Met. Annual Report available for consultation in every local office (p.27).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Information on local office performance to be displayed prominently in every office. (p.22) In hand. Targets and standards displayed in all Benefits Agency districts by end 1992 (p.27).
Clear procedures for customer enquiries and difficulties (p.22). Met. Procedures set out in Customer Charter (p.27).
Customer service managers in each office (p.22). Met. Customer service managers appointed (p.27).
Programme to improve service by telephone (p.22). In hand: a number of separate initiatives under way.
Customers normally to be dealt with by named staff (p.22). In hand. Staff will normally wear name badges by Spring 1993 (p.38). Customer care training introduced for all staff who deal with customers.
Single point of contact where this is in customers interest (p.22). In hand. "One Stop" consultation paper invited views on the best means of delivering services, and these are being considered, together with financial implications of the options (p.28).
Improved office environment (p. 22). In hand. Over half of local office public areas have been refurbished. Agency's business plan, published April 1993, will set out plans for 1993–94. (p. 27).
Results of customer survey to be published (p. 23). Met. Published June 1992 (p. 27).
Option of automated payment to a bank or building society account to be extended (p. 23). In hand. Availability of automated payment extended to Income Support, Invalidity Benefit and Sickness Benefit by October 1993; Unemployment benefit and Income Support for the unemployed) by December 1994 (p. 28).
More flexible opening hours, where necessary to meet the needs of the local community. (p. 22). In hand. Benefits Agency offices consulting customers about the most convenient opening hours (p. 26).
Contributions Agency
Contributor's Charter and Employer's Charter to be published (p. 23). Met. Published August 1991 (p. 28).
To publish an independent survey of services (p. 23). Met. Published October 1991 (p. 28).
New Taxpayer's Charter to be published (p. 24). Met. Joint Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise Taxpayers Charter published summer 1991 (p. 32).
Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise to re-design some forms and literature (p. 24). In hand. 800 Inland Revenue forms to be redesigned. 25 most frequently used forms already being revised (p. 32).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
New Inland Revenue leaflets to be published for particular groups of people (p. 24). In hand. Leaflets produced, eg. on income tax for school leavers; married couples; and the tax aspects of child care (p. 32).
Inland Revenue to issue new leaflets to invite comments and explain how to complain to customer service managers if dissatisfied (p. 24). Met. "You and the Inland Revenue" issued August 1991. Named customer service managers appointed in all Executive Offices (p. 32).
Inland Revenue to set standards for replying to taxpayers letters (p. 24). Met. Targets for substantive replies and acknowledgements set. Performance to be published (p. 32).
Selected Tax Enquiry Centres to experiment more with flexible opening hours to test public demand (p. 24). In hand. 17 Tax Enquiry Centres experimenting with flexible opening hours since April 1992 (p. 26).
Inland Revenue to seek people's views about services (p. 24). Met. A major survey of taxpayers has been carried out. Further surveys planned (p. 32).
Customs and Excise to publish Charters for VAT, Excise duty payers and travellers; (p. 24). Met. Published 1992 (p. 35).
Customs and Excise to expand and report on achievements and use of quality of service indicators (p. 24). In hand. Indicators now included in plans. Reports to follow after the end of the financial year.
Customs and Excise to review complaints system and publish improved procedures (p. 24). Met. Review complete; new leaflet issued. Network of complaintsco-ordinators established (p. 35).
Police services to publish targets and indicators of performance (p. 24). In hand. From January 1993 there will be a core set of performance indicators for all police services in England and Wales (p. 37).
Police officers to be readily identifiable by name (p. 24). In hand. Some police services wearing name badges (p. 37).
Police services to set and publish target times for answering telephone calls, and responding to incidents requiring rapid reaction (p. 25). In hand. A number of police services have now done so (p. 37).
Information to be published on results of police action, as well as response times (p. 25). In hand. First results to be published in 1994 (p. 37).
From 1991, systematic information on quality of performance to be gathered (p. 25). In hand. From Spring 1993 all police services will be required to collect this information (p. 53).
Police effectiveness to be tested in inspections (p. 25). In hand. From Spring 1993 to be tested by Inspectorate annually. All HMIC reports now include a chapter in quality of service (p. 53).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Court Services
Receptiveness to the needs of victims, witnesses and jurors to be increased (p. 26). Met. Courts Charter (England and Wales) published (p. 40).
Management of the courts to be placed under closer scrutiny (p. 26). Met. Courts Charter (England and Wales) published (p. 40).
Lord Chancellor to publish performance standards and indicators in his annual report on the Courts services (p. 26). In hand. Standards to come into effect January 1993.
Information on performance at court level to be made available to the public locally through the Court user committees (p. 26). In hand. The Court Service will ensure that performance details will be available to court user committees.
More effort to be made to obtain the views of those who use the courts (p. 26). In hand. A number of surveys have been carried out already; others will take place
Further improvements in reducing delays in bringing cases to court (p. 26). In hand. National targets published (p. 39).
Friendlier and clearer summons letter and leaflet (p. 26). In hand. New versions to be issued early 1993 (p. 40).
Better training of those receiving jurors and explaining procedures to them (p. 26). Going ahead. New improved training for Crown Court staff (p. 40).
Better explanations to be given to jurors (p. 26). Met. Video available in over 80 Crown Court locations (p. 40).
Problems for those seriously inconvenienced by jury service to be reviewed (p. 27) Met. System reviewed, revised jury summons available early in 1993.
Study to be commissioned to investigate why defendants change to guilty at last moment (p. 27) In hand. Research to be completed in the Summer of 1993. (p. 39).
To bring forward measures to allow juries to go home at the end of the working day (p. 27). To come. Legislative opportunity awaited.
Order to attend court to be clearer, more informal (p. 27). To come. Legislative opportunity awaited.
Leaflets to be sent to witnesses explaining what to expect when they arrive at court (p. 27). Met. Standards set out in the Courts Charter (p. 40).
Information point to be established in each Crown Court centre (p. 27). In hand. Available in some locations.
Witnesses in long running cases to be called only when needed. Met. Target that prosecution witnessess should not have to wait more than two hours before being called to give evidence (p. 40).
Signs within court buildings to be revised with special attention to the needs of victims and witnesses. In hand. One of the tasks of the named court building manager.

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Chief clerks to respond sympathetically to seating requests from those closely linked to particular cases (p. 27). Met. Court officials instructed to try to find seating (p. 40).
Victims called as witnesses to be allowed to familiarise theselves with the court room surroundings before they appear in court (p. 27). Met. Arrangements are now made (p. 39).
Government will encourage similar improvements in the magistrates courts (p. 27). In hand. White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice" outlined arrangements for setting up a Magistrates Court Inspectorate dedicated to raising standards (p. 53).
Prison officers expected to be readily identifiable by name (p. 27). In hand. Name badges to be worn in England and Wales from April 1993 and in Scotland (p. 38 and 40).
Prisoners to receive better information about decisions affecting them and preparations for their release (p. 27). Met. Prisoners now given information pack. Prisoners "compacts" are being piloted (p. 40 and 41).
Transfers of work involving civil servants: anomalies relating to redundancy payments to be removed (p. 28). In hand. Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill now before Parliament (p. 58).
British Rail
Detailed plans for privatising BR to be published in 1992 (p.29) Met New opportunities for the Railways Cm 2012, published July 1992 (p. 57)
London bus industry to be deregulated (p, 29). To come. Legislation to be introduced as soon as possible (p. 57).
London Buses to be privatised (p. 29) In hand. Privatisation proposals being taken forward (p. 57).
The Post Office
Post Office monopoly to be lowered from £1 to a level closer to the price of a first class stamp. In hand. Proposals being taken forward in Government's wider review of the structure and organisation of the Post Office (p. 24).
New independent regulator to be established, (p. 31). In hand in wider review (p. 24).
Improved scope for contractors to trunk mail to final delivery services (p. 30) In hand in wider review (p. 24).
Performance standards to be set by the Secretary of State and not by the Post Office (p. 30). To come. Legislative opportunity awaited.
Clearer and more local information to be provided on service targets and performance against them (p. 30). Met. Posters in more than 80 per cent. of Post Offices (100 per cent, by end 1992) (p. 24).
POUNC to report on redress arrangements (p. 49). Met. POUNC report published early 1992 (p. 24).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Better information to be provided about redress when service falls below standard (p. 30). Met. Detailed information being distributed to every household during 1992 (p. 24).
Current compensation arrangements to be reviewed (p. 30). Met. Improvements now being implemented (p. 24).
Lane rental to be extended to cover half of all major contracts with eventual extension to about two thirds (p. 32). Met. In England two-thrids of all major maintenance contracts will be subject to lane rental by 1993–94 (p. 14).
Maximum length of carriageways that can be coned off at any one time to be stipulated (p. 32). Met. Standard maximum is now two and a half miles (p. 14).
New controls under the new Roads and Streetworks Act 1991 (p. 32). In hand. New controls to take effect from 1 January 1993 (p. 14).
A White Paper to be published setting out how contracting out is to be taken forward in both central Government and the NHS (p. 33). Met. "Competing for Quality" Cm. 1730 published November 1991 (p. 58).
Obstacles to successful contracing out to be removed (p. 33). In hand. Treasury guidance note reissued. March 1992. Further guidance being considered. Removal of other obstacles including those concerning aspects of VAT, treatment of redundancy payments etc in hand (p. 59).
Step change required in volume of market testing (p. 33). In hand. New central government targets represent fifty fold increase on previous levels: cover 40,000 staff and £1 .4 bn worth of work (p. 60—p. 64).
In the NHS, procedures for contracting out to be simplified and streamlined (p. 33). In hand. Revised guidance, to be published in early 1993 (p. 65).
Scope of market testing in the NHS to be extended (p. 33). In hand. In addition to catering domestic and laundry, 20 other services have been market tested. From April 1993 health provider units to report annually on plans and progress for new areas (p. 65).
Compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) to be extended to professional local authority employees (p. 34). In hand. Targets set in Cm 2101 (p. 65).
Private firms to have a fair chance to compete for local authority work (p. 34). In hand. New regulations and code of guidance to be brought into effect in early 1993 (p. 65).
Rewards for performance and penalties for failure to be part of the normal package of pay and conditions (p. 35). In hand. The principle of performance pay being progressively established, eg. new performance pay schemes for half a million civil servants (p. 67).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Pay review bodies to be urged to take performance more into account in their recommendations (p. 35). In hand. Government has given evidence to this effect to the pay review bodies.
Greater delegation and flexibility in the determination of pay (p. 35). In hand, eg. Inland Revenue to introduce new pay and grading arrangements for 68,000 staff from April 1993; government agencies to put forward proposals for their own pay and grading arrangements (p. 68).
The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Act 1991 gave Grant Maintained schools freedom to opt out of statutory pay arrangements, and develop their own systems (p. 67).
New bargaining machinery introduced in BR from August 1992 giving the five business unit managers greater influence over their employees pay and conditions (p.68.).
Top management rewards for BR and London Underground to be more closely linked to the delivery of improved services to the travelling public (p.35). Met. Both BR and LUL managers now have a proportion of their pay linked to performance (p.67).
All executive activities of Government, as far as practicable, to be operating along Next Steps lines by the end of 1993 (p.36). In hand. More than half of all civil servants now work in organisations run on Next Steps lines. Ultimately around ¾ could do so. All further candidates for agency status to be announced by the end of 1993 and launched as agencies by the middle of 1995 (p.60).
Legislation will be introduced to remove technical impediments to delegation of decisions about how the Civil Service is managed (p.36). In hand. Civil Service (Management Functions) Bill now before Parliament (p.66).
Local authorities to publish their response to auditors reports (p.33). Met. Local Government Act 1992 requires local authorities to respond within four months to auditors reports (p.55).
Audit Commission to publish league tables of local authority performance (p.38). Met. Audit Commission has consulted on local authority performance indicator and will issue a Direction very shortly (p.55).
League tables to be published for health services' performance (p. 39). In hand. Performance indicators being developed jointly by the NHS Management Executive and Audit Commission. League tables to be published in early 1995 (p. 7).

Cm. 1599 Commitment Present position
Legislation to be introduced to permit Audit Commission to identify individual authorities in performance league tables (p. 39). Met. Introduced in the Local Government Act 1992 (p. 55).
Major reform of Schools Inspectorate (p. 35). Met. OFSTED set up in England and OHMCI in Wales (p. 10).
New independent element to be introduced into the Inspectorate of Constabulary (p. 33). In hand. Two lay inspectors to be appointed next year (p. 53).
Consultative proposals to be published on Social Services Inspectorate (p. 38). In hand. Consultative proposals for the reform of Social Services inspection published (p. 50).
Generally, Inspectorates to be opened up and a greater lay element introduced. In hand. Progress set out in Cm 2101 pages 51–53.
Complaints systems to be improved. Consultation to take place on a 'lay adjudicator' scheme (p. 43). In hand. Complaints team to be set up to look at whether public services are in line with charter principles and identify necessary improvements (p. 49).
Legislation to be introduced to strengthen powers of regulators (p. 48). Met. Competition and Services (Utilities) Act 1992 has brought the powers of all the utility regulators up to the level of the strongest (p. 55).
Government activities not to be immune from inspection and enforcement on, eg. health or safety regulations; existing limitation to be reviewed (p. 46). In hand. Crown bodies being brought within regulatory provisions which apply to others as legislative opportunities arise; meanwhile required to behave as if bound (p. 58).
Citizens to be given the right to bring legal proceedings to stop unlawful industrial action affecting the services covered by the Citizen's Charter (p. 46). In hand. Legislation introduced in Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill now before Parliament (p. 58).