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Non-Departmental Organisations

Volume 227: debated on Monday 28 June 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the operating costs for non-departmental bodies in Scotland individually and cumulatively for each year since 1978.

[holding answer 24 June 1993]: Information is not centrally available in the precise form requested. However details of staff numbers employed by each executive non-departmental public body are published annually in "Public Bodies" copies of which are available in the Library. This publication also contains the total expenditure of each executive non-departmental public body; and details of numbers and remuneration of the chairman, deputy chairman and members of each non-departmental public body. Most such bodies also publish annual reports and accounts, again available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to introduce new mechanisms within the Scottish Office to ensure that non-departmental public bodies in Scotland are properly financially accountable, in terms both of their operating costs and their expenditure.

[holding answer 24 June 1993]: The arrangements for ensuring the financial accountability of non-departmental public bodies and that they comply with the requirements of "Government Accounting" are kept tinder constant review. In particular both the internal controls operated by each executive body and the relationships with the department are examined in depth in formal financial management reviews. These reviews are on a rolling programme, with each body being dealt with every five years. Advisory bodies do not undertake expenditure on their own account.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what sums of money non-departmental public bodies have spent in Scotland in each year since 1978.

[holding answer 24 June 1993]: Details of expenditure by executive non-departmental public bodies, that part of it funded by government, and other departmental expenditure on such bodies are published annually in "Public Bodies" copies of which are available in the Library. That publication also contains details of departmental expenditure on advisory bodies; such bodies do not undertake expenditure on their own account.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many appointments he has made each year since 1990 to non-departmental public bodies in Scotland; and what were the financial consequences of these appointments.

[holding answer 24 June 1993 ]: In 1990 I made 308 appointments to non-departmental public bodies, of which 48 were salaried and 73 fee paid. The total salary cost is £462,361. In 1991 I made 248 appointments of which 40 were salaries and 43 fee paid with a total salary cost of £421,218. Between 1 January and 1 September 1992 I made 267 appointments, 50 salaried and seven fee paid. The total salary cost is £289,998.It is not possible to give the total amount paid in fees. The rates of fee for fee paid appointments is published in "Public Bodies", which is available in the Library. The remaining appointments were unpaid.

The information held on the central database in my Department is as at 1 September 1992, and that is the date of the information I have just given. Because of the way in which the information is held, appointments made in 1990 and 1991 which had expired before I September 1992 are not shown and neither are appointments to children's panels, other than chairmen or deputy chairmen, or as justices of the peace, neither of which are held on the central database. Information on salaries and fees are also at 1 September 1992. Information on allowances and travel and subsistence costs are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what mechanisms exist within the Scottish Office to ensure that non-departmental public bodies in Scotland are financially accountable, in terms both of their operating costs and their expenditure.

[holding answer 24 June 1993]: The financial accountability of non-departmental public bodies is assured by the provision of their governing statutes and the conditions set out for individual bodies in accounts directions, financial memoranda, and management statements under which they receive grants and other funding from my Department. These conditions apply the rules of "Government Accounting" and the provisions of "Non Departmental Public Bodies: a Guide for Departments" to the activities of such bodies. My Department also undertakes detailed monitoring of the activities of such bodies, the detailed arrangements depending on the individual circumstances of each body.