HC Deb 27 January 1995 vol 253 cc387-9W
Mr. Kaufman

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary Lord Chancellor's Department if he will set out for each of the next step agencies in his Department whether they have acquired their own headquarters buildings and, if so, at what purchase cost of annual rental; how many support staff they have required which were not required when their operations were within his Department; how many of them publish periodical journals and at what annual cost; how many have fleets of executive cars or single executive cars and at what annual cost; how many have specially designed logos and at what cost; how many have corporate clothing and at what cost; and what is the cost of specially designed and printed corporate stationery.

Mr. John M. Taylor

The Lord Chancellor is responsible for three agencies: Her Majesty's Land Registry, the Public Record Office and the Public Trust Office.

The agencies operate within the framework of demanding quality standards and tight controls of costs and other financial targets as set out in the White Paper, "The Civil Service: Continuity and Change", Cm 2627. Their expenditure is subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

HM Land Registry and the Public Record Office were separate Government Departments in their own right before becoming executive agencies reporting to the Lord Chancellor. The Public Trust Office was, and remains, a self-contained and separately accommodated unit within the Lord Chancellor's Department. Agency status has not led to any additional expenditure on accommodation at the Public Trust Office. The office makes a separate bid for funding and has always had to plan to meet all its expenditure from fee income. The establishment of executive agencies has, therefore, had no impact on the overall expenditure of the Lord Chancellor's Department.

A record of the performance of individual agencies in improving efficiency and effectiveness in Government is summarised in "Next Steps Review 1994", Cm 2750.

As the right hon. Member's question concerns specific operational matters, on which the chief executives of the three agencies are best placed to provide answers, I have accordingly asked the chief executives to reply direct.

Letter from Sarah Tyacke to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 23 January 1995: Parliamentary Question: Expenditure by the Next Steps Agencies I have been asked by the Lord Chancellor's Parliamentary Secretary to reply to your question about Next Step issues. The answers to the various points are given below:

  1. 1. The Public Record Office is a separate government department under the Lord Chancellor and has had its own headquarters building for over 150 years.
  2. 2. No additional support staff were required when the office became an Executive Agency.
  3. 3. The only periodical journal that we published is our Readers Bulletin, at a cost of £4,000 per annum.
  4. 4. The Public Record Office has no executive cars.
  5. 5. The Public Record Office had a logo specially designed at a cost of £850.
  6. 6. The Public Record Office has no corporate clothing.
  7. 7. All office stationery is printed in-house. There is no extra cost for printing new corporate stationery.

Letter from John Manthorpe to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 26 January 1995: Parliamentary Question No. 95/181: Expenditure by Executive Agencies I have been asked by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Lord Chancellor's Department to reply to your recent question concerning specific expenditure items by Executive Agencies. HM Land Registry was established in 1862, and has continued since, as a self financing, separate government department directly accountable to the Lord Chancellor. Its move to Executive Agency status in July 1990 did not, as a consequence, involve it in any significant expenditure. I can answer your specific questions as follows:

  1. (a) The Land Registry's Headquarters building was acquired in 1913 and paid for under the Land Registry (New Buildings) Act 1990 at no cost to the Exchequer;
  2. (b) Its Headquarters staff has reduced since the launch of the Agency in 1990;
  3. (c) The only periodical journal produced by the Registry is its internal staff magazine, introduced in 1986;
  4. (d) The Registry has no executive cars;
  5. (e) The corporate logo was introduced in 1989 following a staff competition at a cost of £800;
  6. (f) The Registry does not have corporate clothing;
  7. (g) The incorporation of the logo into corporate stationery was achieved at no extra cost.
I do hope that this answers the points raised with the Parliamentary Secretary but please contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Letter from Julia C. Lomas to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 24 January 1995: The Parliamentary Secretary, of the Lord Chancellor's Department has asked me to reply to you as part of the Lord Chancellor's Department's response to your parliamentary question, listed on 19 January 1995, regarding the cost of establishing Next Step Agencies. The Public Trust Office has not acquired any additional accommodation as a result of becoming an Agency. Four extra support posts have been created but the additional cost has been met from within the PTO's existing budget allocation from efficiency savings. The creation of these posts in areas such as corporate planning will further contribute to the efficiency of the Office. The cost of designing and printing the Framework Document, Corporate and Business Plans in 1994 (the first year of Agency) was £10,980. The Corporate and Business Plans will be published annually together with an annual report. The numbers of these documents required for 1995 is currently being researched and the cost is not expected to exceed £5000. The Public Trust Office does not have any executive cars or corporate clothing and has not changed its logo. Existing stocks of stationery were used before fresh supplies were ordered with a New Agency heading. The cost of altering the headings was negligible and not separately costed.

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