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Services (Quality And Volume)

Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1982

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asked the Minister for the Civil Service what studies have been made under the direction of Sir Derek Rayner of the opportunities for investment in improving the quality and volume of services offered by the Civil Service; and what recommendations have been made to that end.

All the studies carried out in association with Sir Derek Rayner have been concerned with improving the way in which work is done. In general, they have shown the need for streamlining procedures and cutting out unnecessary work and some of the studies have recommended investment in, for example, office accommodation and computerisation.

Does the Minister recognise the low morale that exists among many public employees, who are fed up with constant sniping and attacks from the Government side of the House and with further financial cuts at a time when an improvement of services is needed? Since improvements in services are just as important as cost efficiency, will he ensure that more emphasis is placed on improving the quality of working conditions and the services that are offered to the people?

I have indicated in my answer that Sir Derek Rayner, in his reviews, has always paid attention to the improvement of working conditions as well as to improved procedures. We want both efficiency and more effectiveness.

Will my hon. Friend recognise that many Conservative Members congratulate Sir Derek Rayner on the efforts that he has made and the considerable service that he has contributed to the country? Does he agree that, ultimately, an efficient and effective Civil Service is in the best interests of those working in the Civil Service?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I know that Sir Derek Rayner would be the first to acknowledge that the work that has been done and that is attached to his name has been carried out in the main by members of the Civil Service. It is their devotion and dedication to duty that has given the good results.