Skip to main content

Executive Agencies

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which of the executive agencies of his Department have regional offices outside London. (116731)

The Department is responsible for the following five Executive agencies: Small Business Service, Companies House, the Insolvency Service, Patent Office and National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML). Their offices outside London are as follows:

Small Business Service has an office in Sheffield.

The Patent Office HQ is in South Wales.

Companies House HQ is in Cardiff and has an office in Edinburgh.

National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) HQ is in Teddington.

The Insolvency Service’s offices are given in the following table.

Number

East of England

6

South West

5

South East

5

East Midland

3

West Midland

3

Yorkshire and Humber

3

North East

2

North West

5

Wales

2

Scotland

2

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which executive agencies are the responsibility of his Department; what the function is of each agency; and what the budget was of each agency in the most recent year for which figures are available. (116738)

The Department is responsible for the following five Executive agencies: Small Business Service, Companies House, the Insolvency Service, Patent Office and National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML).

Small Business Service

Its main functions are to:

Improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises;

Build the capabilities of small and medium enterprises to grow;

Encourage more enterprises in disadvantaged communities and under-represented groups;

Develop better regulation; and

Simplify support for businesses.

Following a review last year, in April 2007 the SBS will cease to be an Executive agency and become a smaller policy unit within DTI’s Enterprise and Business Group.

Budget (2006-07): £232.6 million.

Companies House

The main functions of Companies House are to:

incorporate and dissolve limited companies;

examine and store company information delivered under the Companies Act and related legislation; and

make this information available to the public.

Budget (2006-07): £70.3 million.

Insolvency Service

The Insolvency Service:

administers and investigates the affairs of bankrupts, of companies and partnerships wound up by the court, and establish why they became insolvent;

acts as trustee/liquidator where no private sector insolvency practitioner is appointed;

acts as nominee and supervisor in fast-track individual voluntary arrangements;

takes forward reports of bankrupts’ and directors’ misconduct;

deals with the disqualification of unfit directors in all corporate failures;

deals with bankruptcy restrictions orders and undertakings;

authorises and regulates the insolvency profession;

assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay its employees;

provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds;

advises DTI Ministers and other Government Departments and agencies on insolvency, redundancy and related issues;

provides information to the public on insolvency and redundancy matters via our website, leaflets, Insolvency Inquiry Line and Redundancy Payments Helpline; and

conducts confidential fact-finding investigations into companies where it is in the public interest to do so. These inquiries are carried out by Companies Investigation Branch.

Budget (2006-07): £163.5 million.

Patent Office

The Patent Office is the Government body responsible for granting Intellectual

Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom. These rights include: Patents, Designs, Trade marks and Copyright. It has responsibility for:

ensuring that the intellectual property system works to industry’s benefit;

making sure that the property rights issued under its authority carry respected validity in the marketplace, and

promoting awareness of the value of intellectual property and its exploitation.

Budget (2006-07): £49.6 million.

National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWMU)

The National Weights and Measures Laboratory is responsible for ensuring UK measurement is accurate, fair and legal. It has responsibility for:

policy on measuring instruments in use for trade;

the implementation of European directives on measuring instruments and provides the focus for legal metrology in the UK;

the examination and approval of new weighing and measuring equipment to be used for trade; and

to establish compliance with the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 and relevant European legislation.

Budget (2006-07): £3.9 million.