HL Deb 05 June 2003 vol 648 cc191-4WA
Lord Harris of Haringey

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will publish the guiding principles of Lord Haskins's Rural Delivery Review. [HL3223]

Lord Whitty:

Lord Haskins's Rural Delivery Review will help improve the way rural policies are delivered and make a real difference to local people.

The seven guiding principles of the review—the first outcome of Lord Haskins's work—were published today. They are:

Better accountability: policy development should be managed separately from policy delivery, whilst ensuring that proper communication exists at all stages between the two functions. Accountability for success or failure cannot be determined if there is confusion between the two.

Readiness for policy change: the Government must prepare for the delivery of a major new agri-environmental agenda in the coming years.

Devolution: delivery of economic and social policy must be devolved in accordance with the principles of public service reform.

Customer focus: the services available to rural businesses and rural communities, and visitors to the countryside, need to be more accessible and transparent.

Simplicity: the complex range of agencies currently engaged in delivering the Government's rural policies should be simplified.

Co-ordination: the environmental, social and economic elements of rural delivery should be better co-ordinated at a regional level.

Value for money: the taxpayer must get better value for money as a result of changes to the current arrangements.

Ministers are very grateful for all the work Lord Haskins has done so far, meeting hundreds of individuals and organisations throughout England, as well as visiting Scotland, Wales, France, Germany and Belgium. The principles he has developed are a very useful first indication of his thinking and are consistent with existing work across government bringing services closer to local people, for example through devolution and decentralisation.

Ministers want to see real improvements in service delivery to rural people and we expect the Rural Delivery Review to build on these principles to produce imaginative and effective proposals. We now look forward to receiving Lord Haskins's final conclusions in the autumn.