HC Deb 15 December 1997 vol 303 cc27-8W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made in integrating civil servants from the formerly separate departments of Transport and the Environment; and if he will make a statement on the policy of integrating formerly separated departmental specialists. [19668]

Mr. Prescott

Good progress has been made.

Single integrated teams covering Personnel, Finance, Communications and Private Office support have been established. Action is being taken to establish single integrated Personnel, Finance and IT systems. The Land-use Planning Directorate has been brought together with the Roads and Local Transport Group, to build on the many linkages between these policy areas. Policies have been put in place to encourage staff to move to areas of work formerly covered by the other Department and two staff at Director General level, one from each former Department, have already exchanged posts.

Single Heads of Profession have been identified and specialists working in central groups, such as lawyers and scientists, have been integrated.

To encourage integrating further and give strategic focus to the new Department, I have agreed the following new aim and objectives: The aim of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is to improve the quality of life by promoting sustainable development at home and abroad, fostering economic prosperity and supporting local democracy. Its main objectives are:

  1. 1. To protect and improve the environment, and to integrate the environment with other policies across government and international fora.
  2. 2. To offer everyone the opportunity of a decent home and so promote social cohesion, well-being and self-dependence.
  3. 3. To promote efficient and integrated transport services across different modes and reduce road traffic growth, in order better to meet the mobility needs of the travelling public and industry.
  4. 4. To deliver regulatory and other transport services to the public and industry and to collect taxes efficiently and fairly.
  5. 5. To enhance opportunity in rural areas, improve enjoyment of the countryside and conserve and manage wildlife resources.
  6. 6. To create a fair and efficient land use planning system that respects regional differences and promotes development which is of high quality and sustainable.
  7. 7. To promote a system of elected government in England which responds to the needs of local communities.
  8. 8. To enhance economic development and social cohesion throughout England through effective regional action and integrated local regeneration programmes.
  9. 9. To secure an efficient market in the construction industry, with innovative and successful UK firms that meet the needs of clients and society and are competitive at home and abroad.
  10. 10. To improve health and safety by reducing risks from work activity, travel and the environment.

These objectives may be subject to further review in the light of the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

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