§ 24. Mr. Stanbrook
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he proposes to take to speed up the work of the Patent Office, in the light of the recent report of the Comptroller General that persistent undermanning has impaired its efficiency.
§ Mr. Eyre
The Comptroller General's report to which my hon. Friend refers is that relating to calendar year 1980. The paragraph from which the question constitutes a partial quotation, indicated that the Comptroller General himself saw the way forward. He refers there to the team under Sir Derek Rayner which, in 1980, made a full review of the work of the office and he expressed the hope4W that its report would give the necessary impetus to modernisation that would enable the office to maintain the standard of services required within the manpower resources available. Since that date the office has been following up with vigour the several constructive suggestions made by the report for improving efficiency and cost effectiveness. Some unnecessary tasks have been eliminated; some changes in work procedures have been effected and others are being closely considered; detailed studies are well under way with a view to further computerisation of office operations and the office is also actively considering the proposed changes in the trade marks operation. I am satisfied that steady progress is being made towards modernising the office and increasing its effectiveness.