HC Deb 21 November 1986 vol 105 cc367-8W
Mr. Leighton

asked the Paymaster General if he will list the new guidelines, and changes in the rules, of the community programme agreed with the Confederation of British Industry task force for the private sector pilot projects.

Mr. Lee

Following consultation with the Confederation of British Industry about increasing the involvement of the private sector in the community programme my right hon. and noble Friend wrote to the CBI on 5 June and gave agreement to the setting up of a number of experimental community programme projects.

The basic ground rules for the experiment are: (i) It will apply to up to 10 private sponsored projects in any part of the country plus any other such projects in the inner city areas covered by city action teams or the inner cities initiative with an upper limit of 20 projects across the country as a whole.

(ii) Suitable experimental projects should be directly sponsored by the business sector and be likely to lead to the creation of permanent jobs at the end of the projects and/or to enhance significantly the skills of the community programme workforce.

The changes to the normal community programme funding rules must be negotiated project by project but can include: the funding of a feasibility study and preparatory work for a project involving over 20 places up to a limit of £10,000 per project; a commitment to two-year funding of projects on the same basis as existing two year commitments to community refurbishment schemes; a higher level of operating costs (up to a maximum of £750 per authorised place) where that can be shown to be justified by the higher skill level or higher output of the project; a willingness to consider a lower supervisor/participant ratio (with a lower limit of 1:5) for appropriate projects; a willingness to use the existing waiver rules to allow one key worker per project to be seconded from the employer's workforce as manager or supervisor and to be reimbursed up to the current community programme rates for managers and supervisors.

The aim of the experiment is to test rigorously the CBIs contention that higher unit costs for certain private sector sponsored projects will result in much higher outputs in terms of economic and social benefits.