HC Deb 11 May 1999 vol 331 cc100-1W
Helen Jones

To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the final outcome of the Quinquennial Agency Review of the Public Record Office. [83947]

Mr. Hoon

The Review concluded that the Public Record Office had greatly benefited from agency status and that it continued to perform an essential function of government. It recommended that the Public Record Office remain a Government Department and an executive agency. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Lord Chancellor have accepted these conclusions.

The Review also recommended a fresh look at some elements of the Public Record Office's work and the exploration of further opportunities for private sector involvement. These recommendations were, where appropriate, carried forward within the Public Record Office's Comprehensive Spending Review and implemented.

The Public Record Office is now well placed to lead essential changes in the introduction of electronic record keeping in government and the provision of on-line services for the public. It is also leading on improving records management and storage across government. Its education programme is being expanded, particularly in the direction of internet services to benefit schools and lifelong learners nationally.

In the light of the Review recommendations and of the Comprehensive Spending Review, a new framework document has now been prepared to cover the next five years. This concludes the final stage of the Office's Quinquennial Review.

Copies of the Quinquennial Review evaluation report and of the revised framework document have been placed in the Library of both Houses.

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