HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc84-5W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which of the services of his Department have not been reviewed under the Better Quality Services initiative; and when they will be reviewed. [49471]

Angela Eagle

The Better Quality Services (BQS) programme was launched in 1998 and adopted by the Cabinet Office in the Modernising Government White Paper of 1999 as a means of delivering continuous improvements in the quality and effectiveness of Government activities and services. It required all Government Departments to review every activity and service over a five-year period starting in October 1999.

The scheme covered all activities in Departments, agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies, and is similar in remit to the Best Value programme in local government. Reviews of the departmental activities and services under the scheme started in April 2000 and have covered the following areas: Information Technology Systems, National Probation Service Estates, and the Prison Service (Security Group. Prison Shops, Prison Industry and Farms Group, Sentencing Management Group and six prisons).

Within the Department's service delivery agreement, we have a target to review 60 per cent. of its business by March 2003 and to review 100 per cent. by March 2004. We will use BQs and other management tools to conduct the reviews.