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Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 10 March 1992

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made towards establishing the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service as an executive agency; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I are pleased to confirm that ADAS will become an executive agency with effect from 1 April 1992.Cost recovery will provide us with an important means of judging the efficiency of this agency. Additional performance measures relating to the objectives of the agency will also be used to measure operating efficiency and quality of service.The financial and efficiency targets for ADAS for 1992–93 will be:

recovery of its full economic costs, through charges to its customers, including the Departments (MAFF and Welsh Office). In the case of certain charged advisory services, ADAS will recover 41 per cent. of the costs from charges to the ultimate beneficiaries and the remainder will be met by the Departments. In other cases ADAS will recover the full costs from the customer;
an overall efficiency improvement of a 2 per cent. reduction in average total cost per direct hour charged to contracts;
at least a 6 per cent. reduction in average time taken to collect debts due to ADAS from non-Departmental customers;

The targets for delivery of services by ADAS will be:

achieving improvements in customer satisfaction, as evidenced in ADAS surveys, the procedures for which will be developed by 30 June 1992;
at least 80 per cent. of Research and Development project milestones to be met.

The measures for performance for the agency are set out in the framework document, copies of which will be placed in the Library of the House by 1 April.