HL Deb 23 May 1989 vol 508 c388WA
Lord Coleraine

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they expect to establish the Resettlement Units Executive Agency.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Skelmersdale)

The Resettlement Units Executive Agency will tomorrow become the first part of the Department of Social Security to achieve agency status. Its main aim is to provide help and assistance to a group of people who are amongst the most disadvantaged. There are two key tasks: first, to manage the existing DSS units efficiently and effectively, examining how to get the best out of the resources available; secondly, to implement the policy set out by government in 1985 that the needs of these people, and in particular their prospects for a more settled way of life, could more appropriately be met in accommodation that is locally run and administered by local authorities and by voluntary organisations rather than in large centrally run institutions.

The units provide 1,836 beds, 670 of which are in London, for single homeless people. In addition to providing food and shelter, the units seek to encourage users to adopt a more settled way of life and to help them to find accommodation of their own.

The agency will be a more effective way of carrying out that work. Efficiency targets have been set, but, in accordance with the promises made by the Government in 1985, all efficiency savings will be retained by the agency. A more clearly defined timetable for taking forward the replacement programme will be developed. The new concept of a single agency budget, and the flexibilities given within that, will facilitate the work of the chief executive in deploying all the resources available in the best interests of the users of resettlement accommodation.

Copies of the Agency Framework Document and of the initial set of performance targets, have been placed in the Library.