asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the effect on his Department of the financial management initiative.
[pursuant to his reply, 9 April 1987, c. 408]: The financial management initiative embraces a whole range of improvements to management in central Government to reflect our commitment to value for money in public expenditure. Since the launch of the initiative in 1982 my Department has made considerable progress in this field. Management accounts and a new staff appraisal system have been introduced, both of which emphasise the importance of accountability and arrangements to set and monitor objectives and targets. A system of delegated budgetary control has been introduced, giving line managers throughout the Department responsibility for their own running costs and promoting greater cost consciousness at all levels.We have completed a series of wide-ranging reviews of the social security system and, in the Health Service, the financial management initiative has been reflected in the appointment of general managers at regional, district and unit level.Chapter 3.14 and 3.15 of the public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 56) gives examples of output and performance measures over the Department's businesses. These improvements have provided a valuable impetus and build on work which was already under way in the Department to develop financial management. The principles of the initiative form an integral part of our developing management systems and improvements in value for money generally. Its effects are thus increasingly difficult to identify separately.