HC Deb 10 December 1998 vol 322 cc277-8W
Mr. Illsley

To ask the Prime Minister what progress has been made with the establishment of the Performance and Innovation Unit. [63769]

The Prime Minister

The Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) is now firmly established as an integral part of the new structure for the Cabinet Office that I announced on 28 July 1998,Official Report, columns 132–34.

The Unit is beginning its work to improve the capacity of Government to identify and address strategic, crosscutting issues and promote innovation in the development of policy and in the delivery of the Government's objectives. Its first five projects will focus on:

Developing Electronic Commerce in the UK How to achieve the Government's goal of making the UK the world's best environment for electronic commerce, ensuring that the UK benefits fully from the single fastest growing market place in the global economy;

Active Aging How to improve the well-being and quality of life of older people by helping them to remain active. The study will identify ways of increasing the employment opportunities for older people, by examining the incentives for businesses to employ and retain older people and for individuals to remain in paid or voluntary work;

Central Government's Role at Regional and Local Level Getting the right arrangements in place for joined-up delivery of central Government policies in regions and communities;

Accountability and Incentives for Joined-Up Government Examining whether current accountability arrangements and incentive systems can be reformed to facilitate joined-up policy-making and delivery, for example by promoting the achievement of joint objectives which require co-operation between departments; and

Objectives for rural economies Examining the differing needs of local rural economies, and the key factors affecting performance, so as to establish clear objectives for Government policies influencing the future development of rural economies.

The PIU's review teams will be drawn from both inside and outside Government, to ensure that we bring new thinking and a wide range of experience to bear on the issues. The aim is to complete most of these reviews by next summer. Decisions flowing from the PIU's work will be announced in the normal way.