§ 40. Mr. Lidington
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what measures he has adopted to increase the availability of information about the performance of the public services.
§ Mr. Robert Jackson
The citizens charter calls on all public services to provide more and better information on their performance. Details of the improvements in public service performance will be set out in the White Paper to be published on Wednesday.
§ Mr. Lidington
Will my hon. Friend confirm that from next year the parents charter will give further information to parents about the performance of the state schools to which they send their children? Will he and his colleagues continue to reject calls from the teachers' unions and the Opposition to maintain secrecy?
§ Mr. Jackson
I can certainly give that assurance to my hon. Friend. The publication of schools charters and the information flowing from them are an important step forward in the charter movement. My hon. Friend asks about the publication of performance standards. I visited the Employment Service in the north-east last week and saw for myself the publication of citizens charter performance standards in Employment Service offices. A great deal of performance against those standards is now being published.
Mr. William O'Brien
When the Minister obtains information about local services, will he take into consideration the fact that organisations are saying that, because of lack of resources, the indicators prove that there is a reduction in the service being provided for the public? Will the Minister take on board the information that points to a reduction in services, and the fact that resources for local services should be improved?
§ Mr. Jackson
I ask the hon. Gentleman to tell me the specific stories afterwards. My understanding is that charter standards are leading to increases in services provided, but I shall consider any case that he might bring forward.