§ Mr. Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the forthcoming prior options review of the Scottish Office Pensions Agency 
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
In accordance with the Government's policy on periodic reviews of executive agencies my Department will commence this month a thorough review of the Scottish Office Pensions Agency. The remit for this review will be as follows211WTo carry out prior options review of the Scottish Office Pensions Agency in accordance with Cabinet Office—OPS—guidance and the agreed timetable, by
- (a) re-examining the status options considered before the agency was created, in the light of experience and of any changes in internal or external circumstances;
- (b) testing rigorously whether the agency function is required at all, and the scope for privatising, contracting out (which could include market testing), transferring functions to another body, continuation of agency status or returning the functions to the Scottish Office;
- (c) consulting widely amongst the key players in the agency (management and staff), the Scottish Office, HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office, as well as customers and other interested bodies and other suppliers of similar services;
- (d) assessing each option in terms of practicability and value for money; and
- (e) making recommendations accordingly to the Secretary of State for Scotland.
In order to help ensure that all options are considered fully, comments from interested parties will be welcome. Comments should be sent by 17 February 1997 to the following address. The results of the review will be published in the early summer.
- J. S. B. Martin
- The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department
- Room 3B-02
- Victoria Quay
- EH6 6QQ.