HC Deb 15 July 1993 vol 228 cc645-6W
Mr. Meacher

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to whom each of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Scottish Office is responsible; whether the public bodies or their members in each case are subject to(a) surcharge, (b) investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner, (c) scrutiny by the Audit Commission or National Audit Office, (d) the statutory provisions for open government which apply to local authorities, (e) performance indicators and (f) provisions under the citizens charters; and whether the chairpersons and members of the boards of each of these bodies are required to declare an interest.

Mr. Lang

[holding answer 6 July 1993]: The day-to-day management responsibility of executive NDPBs depends on the statutory or other arrangements relevant to the individual NDPB. All are responsible through me to Parliament for the proper management of any Government funds made available to them. In respect of the other matters referred to in the question: (a) I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Paisley, South (Mr. McMaster) on 24 June at column 273;(b) those bodies subject to the scrutiny of the Parliamentary Commissioner are listed in the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 as amended by the Parliamentary and Health Service Commissioners Act 1987; (c) the audit regime of NDPBs is listed in the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies", which is available in the Library of the House and in certain cases the Comptroller and Auditor General is able to undertake other scrutiny of NDPBs; (d) the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 does not apply to NDPBs; (e) performance indicators are often published in the annual report of the body and will normally be contained in the management statement for the body concerned; a selection are included in my Department's departmental report; (f) the citizens charter applies to NDPBs. Scottish Office executive NDPBs are encouraged to fulfil the provisions of the citizens charter and many are already doing so. Management statements will contain commitments to citizens charter principles. In addition, NDPBs will in due course produce charter standard statements.

I take into account the question of interests of chairmen and members of the boards of executive NDPBs when I am making appointments to a body. Arrangements for the declaration of interest of members on specific items under consideration by the body are normal practice; detailed arrangements vary depending on the body.

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