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Public Appointments

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made by his Department towards the aim in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", of encouraging applicants to public bodies from all parts of England; and what change there has been in the geographical diversity of appointees to NDPBs and other public bodies sponsored by his Department since the publication of the White Paper. [108558]

Vacancies for public appointments are publicised routinely by my Department in a range of national and local media, including its own website ( and the new website ( uk) launched by the Cabinet Office in March 2003.All public appointments are made on merit. In the period since the publication of the White Paper on 14 May 2002 up until 31 March 2003, my Department made 48 new appointments to non-departmental public bodies. The distribution by residence of those appointed is detailed below.

English region/countryNumber of new appointments
North East2
North West2
Yorks and Humberside2
East Midlands2
West Midlands3
South West3
South East15
Northern Ireland1

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress the Department has made towards the aim in the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, of assessing the balance of staff between the centre and the regions in terms of effective policy design and implementation; and what examples there have been since the publication of the White Paper of the Department deciding between locating new streams of work (a) in and (b) outside London and the South East. [108568]

My Department is currently reviewing the deployment of its staff resources in the regions, with the aim of improving value for money. The review is about to report, and its recommendations will be considered in May.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget plans to examine relocation of public services with the aim of achieving best value for money. He has asked Sir Michael Lyons— Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies at Birmingham University— to advise on relocation by the next Spending Review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress his Department has made towards the goal set out in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", of (a) ensuring that regional awareness and devolution feature strongly in civil service training and development, (b) increasing the mobility of civil servants between headquarters offices, regional offices and the Government offices and (c) encouraging interchange between the civil service and organisations in the regions. [108578]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office will be answering this question giving an overall civil service perspective.Since the publication of the White Paper in May 2002, there has not been any specific development of this Department's training and development programmes to raise awareness of devolution and regional awareness, but the recent launch of "Delivering Through People: A Human Resource Strategy for DfES" commits the Department to developing HR action plans to maximise the contribution of each of our four sites in delivering the Department's business.Interchange is the exchange of staff between the civil service and other public and private sector organisation in the regions for periods of a few weeks up to five years. Interchange promotes better understanding between organisations and is a practical and effective form of personal development as it gives staff first hand experience of a different work environment and the issue and challenges which the people working in it face. Secondees have an opportunity to learn new skills, new ways of working, and new ways of dealing with problems. The DfES is actively committed to making interchange available to peoples at all levels as it can be a real benefit to the individual and to the Department as a whole.From 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003 interchange between HQ an organisations in the regions was 368, an increase of 9 per cent. on the previous year.