HC Deb 11 May 1999 vol 331 cc77-8W
Mr. McNulty

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement about the Northern Ireland Executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies 1998 Report. [83946]

Marjorie Mowlam

I have today published the NI Executive NDPB 1998 Report (CM 4334) which has been laid before both Houses. This is the first report covering the activities of all Northern Ireland Executive NDPBs with the exception of those which are the responsibility of the NIO, which are covered in the recently published Executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies 1998 Report (Command Number 4157). These reports demonstrate the Government's policy of making public bodies more efficient, transparent and accountable.

The Northern Ireland Executive NDPB 1998 Report brings together performance and trend data on the 40 Executive NDPBs sponsored by Northern Ireland Civil Service Departments. Between them these NDPBs have expenditure budgets amounting to £1.3 billion and employ almost 24,000 staff. They provide a range of important services to the public in Northern Ireland and it is appropriate that their performance is reported upon in the same way as for large executive NDPBs in Great Britain.

The individual entries covering key performance measures and business summary data show that some NDPBs are performing well in terms of meeting stretching performance targets and delivering more efficient and effective services. There are some areas of weakness however: not all NDPBs have adequate performance measures in place and, in particular, proper measures of efficiency. While many of the bodies are small both in terms of staff numbers and the amount of taxpayers' money they receive, it is important that all should develop measures of performance and efficiency which demonstrate how well they are working for the community they serve. I trust that the publication of this report will encourage all NDPBs in Northern Ireland to address shortcomings in performance measurement and consider initiatives to secure improvements in overall performance.