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Business: Advisory Services

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) how many agencies are funded by the Government to provide advice and assistance to businesses; (263574)

(2) what mechanisms are in place to monitor the accuracy of the information provided by business support agencies to businesses.

Business Link is the primary free advice and support service for businesses in England. Over 30,000 businesses have already taken advantage of a free health check. In addition to the extensive information and advice available, Business Link provides a brokerage service to more specialist support. Business Link is also the main access point for the new streamlined Solutions for Business portfolio, which brings together all publicly-funded support under an easily recognisable brand identity; and provides access to the specialist services of other organisations whether in the public sector, such as the Manufacturing Advisory Service, or the private sector. Business Link’s directory of business organisations can be searched online. Businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can also access local business support networks.

The Business Link service in England is delivered by operators under contracts let by the nine regional development agencies. Business link services are delivered under a framework agreement that describes the range of services that should be delivered. In addition ( website content managers and lead policy Departments work closely, using formal procedures, to ensure all information available to businesses on the website is accurate and up to date.