HL Deb 08 November 1999 vol 606 cc131-2WA
Lord Hoyle

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to conduct a quinquennial review of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. [HL4566]

Baroness Hayman

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate was established as an executive agency on 2 April 1990. On 3 November my right honourable friend the Minister announced the quinquennial review of this agency, which will include an evaluation of the performance of the agency, and reconsideration of the prior options relating to agency status as well as the options required under better quality services. If appropriate, the existing framework document will also be reviewed.

The terms of reference for the review are as follows: to conduct an evaluation of the performance of the agency since the date of the last review; to consider in the light of this evaluation, and the views of customers and other stakeholders, whether among the available options agency status remains the most cost effective way of achieving MAFF's aims; and if the review concludes that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate should continue to function as an executive agency, then to consider what changes, if any, are required to the framework document in the light of the findings of the review. If, however, the review concludes that a different delivery system would provide high quality, more effective and better value for money services, to set out the rationale and to recommend an appropriate option to Ministers.

The review will be conducted by officials from MAFF working with officials from VMD in close consultation with the Cabinet Office and Treasury. It will draw on and take account of other relevant work, for example, the considerations feeding into the White Paper and Bill to establish the Food Standards Agency and other relevant material.

We shall be setting out the arrangements whereby interested parties will be given an opportunity to submit their views.

We hope to publish the outcome of the review in the second quarter of 2000.