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Regions White Paper

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been 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. [108586]

I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer given by my hen. Friend the member for Paisley, South (Mr. Alexander) on 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 602W.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently undertaking a skills audit as part of the regular review of its development and training needs and ambitions. Regional awareness and devolution will feature in this. Two seminars have been held on aspects of devolution and a leaflet on good working relationships circulated to all staff. Material on regional governance issues is available on the Office's internal electronic briefing system.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister encourages movement between different offices where that enhances Departmental effectiveness and individual career prospects. Improving mobility of staff between HQ policy sections and regionally based delivery units is a strategic priority. In the past year 26 Office of the Deputy Prime Minister HQ staff moved to Government offices.

There are currently 103 secondees working in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister drawn from non-government organisations in the regions. In addition there are currently 18 members of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister who are working in non-government organisations in the regions. The target for the Interchange Programme for 2003–04 is to increase inward secondments by 10 and outward secondments to 50.