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Executive Agencies

Volume 173: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1990

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To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer on 15 May, Official Report, column 375, whether Ministers will continue to give substantive answers to questions on matters delegated to executive agencies where the Member concerned has indicated that he or she does not wish in the first instance to deal directly with the agency chief executive.

As I told the hon. Member on 15 May, Ministers remain fully accountable to Parliament for the work of their Department, including executive agencies and are, therefore, ready to reply to questions about any aspect of this work. But one of the objectives of establishing executive agencies is to respond better to the concerns of hon. and right hon. Members. Chief executives and agency managers will have the immediate detailed knowledge which the hon. Member is seeking, as well as the necessary delegated authority to take appropriate action. Where right hon. and hon. Members' concerns relate to an operational matter for which the Minister has delegated authority to the chief executive under the agency's published framework document, they will therefore best be met by going direct to the chief executive or, as appropriate, the local agency manager to get a prompt and effective response.