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Non-Departmental Public Bodies

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to whom each of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Cabinet Office is responsible; whether the public bodies or their members in each case are subject to (a) surcharge, (b) investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner, (c) scrutiny by the National Audit Office, (d) statutory provisions for open government, (e) performance indicators and (f) provisions under the citizens charters; and whether the chairpersons and members of the boards of each of these bodies are required to declare and interest.

[holding answer 23 July 1993]: The executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Office of Public Service and Science—which forms part of the Cabinet Office—are as follows:

  • Agricultural and Food Research Council
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Medical Research Council
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Science and Engineering Research Council
The research councils are responsible to my right hon.Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

  • (a) Neither the councils nor their members are subject to surcharge;
  • (b) the councils are subject to investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner;
  • (c) the councils are subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office;
  • (d) the councils are not subject to open government provisions applying to local government—other than the Data Protection Act 1984—but they will come within the proposals contained within chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the open government White Paper (Command 2290);
  • (e) the councils publish performance indicators in their annual corporate plans;
  • (f) all public servants are subject to the citizens charter. The research councils are encouraged to adopt charter principles.
  • The Cabinet Office also sponsors the Chequers Trust, which is an independent trust.

  • (a) Neither the trust nor its members are subject to surcharge;
  • (b) the trust is not subject to investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner;
  • (c) the trust is subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office;
  • (d) the trust is not subject to statutory provisions for open government;
  • (e) the trust is not required to publish performance indicators;
  • (f) the trust operates on citizens charter principles.
  • Before any appointments are made to public bodies great care is taken to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total expenditure by all Departments on executive non-departmental public bodies for each year since 1970–71 in 1991–92 prices.

    [holding answer 23 July 1993]: The following table gives details of the total Government expenditure in 1991–92 prices on executive non-departmental public bodies for the financial year 1978–79 and then each financial year since 1981–82 to 1991–92. Figures for the financial years 1970–71 to 1977–78 and 1979–80 to 1980–81 are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Executive non-departmental public bodies
    Total government expenditure (in 1991–92 prices) £ million
    1978–798,010
    1981–826,960
    1982–838,510
    1983–848,200
    1984–857,710
    1985–867,640
    1986–877,910
    1987–887,810
    1988–897,480
    1989–909,940
    1990–9110,730
    1991–9210,320