HC Deb 03 April 1996 vol 275 cc238-40W
Lady Olga Maitland

To ask the Attorney-General what further progress he has made towards establishing executive agencies in his Department under the Government's next steps initiative; and if he will make a statement. [25162]

The Attorney-General

On 15 March 1995, I informed the House,Official Report columns 580–81, that the Treasury Solicitor's Department had been selected as a candidate for executive agency status. I am pleased to announce that I established the Treasury Solicitor's Department as an executive agency on 1 April. The chief executive will have clear responsibilities for improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and quality of service. These responsibilities are to be set out in the agency's framework document, which will be published and copies placed in the Library. Targets are set out in the agency's corporate and business plans. An annual report and accounts will be produced and copies also put in the Library.

The agency has 390 staff based in London. It will continue to provide legal services to Government Departments and other publicly funded bodies, but on a more commercial basis. It will continue to compete, where appropriate, with private firms of solicitors. The establishment of the Treasury Solicitor's Department as an executive agency will provide the appropriate structure and discipline to enhance its ability to supply a more efficient, economic and effective delivery of legal services to its clients. I have appointed Mr. Michael Saunders, the present Treasury Solicitor, to be the agency's first chief executive.

The key performance targets are as follows: to achieve efficiency savings of 2; per cent. per annum; to recover the full operating cost for chargeable services of the agency; to achieve 90 per cent. customer satisfaction in advisory services; to achieve 2 per cent. reductions in the average unit cost per chargeable hour or per case as appropriate.

I wish the chief executive and his staff every success for the future.

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