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Public Consultations

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2005, Official Report, column 1292W, on departmental expenditure, what mechanisms are in place to ensure value for money in public consultations. (80752)

The Department for Work and Pensions follows the Code of Practice on consultation as a key element of its policy development. Criterion 3 of the code requires Departments to ensure that their consultations are

‘...clear, concise, and widely accessible.’

The Department for Work and Pensions seeks to strike a balance between the accessibility and value for money of its public consultations. In accordance with the code, the Department's consultation co-ordinator advises colleagues on best practice and is integral to consultation planning and delivery. The Department works closely with its key stakeholders, intermediaries, and charitable organisations to broaden the coverage of its consultations. As well as obtaining the views of the wider public, stakeholders have hosted public consultative events on key policy issues which Ministers and officials have attended.

In accordance with Government best practice, consultation documents are made available on-line to ensure the widest possible best-value coverage.

By following the code, and making effective use of consultative channels, DWP has been able to take on board the views both of those likely to be affected and of relevant experts. Consequently Government are considerably more likely to meet their policy objectives, thus rendering consultation invaluable.