§ Mr. Leighton
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress he has made in establishing "next steps" agencies; and if he will make a statement on the arrangements for financial accountability of each agency that has been established.
In April 1990 my right hon. and learned Friend established the Employment Service as a "next steps" agency. The Employment Service employs some 35,000 people and its priority is to give positive help to unemployed people through its job placement services and other programmes, and by the payment of benefits and allowances to those entitled to them. It is the biggest agency to be set up so far under the "next steps" initiative.
The arrangements for the financial accountability of the Employment Service are set out in the financial agreement between the Employment Department and the Employment Service, which is annex 2 to the framework 189W document. The financial agreement sets out the respective financial responsibilities of the Department and the agency and seeks to ensure continued accountability for the use of public funds while at the same time allowing ES the necessary flexibility to manage effectively as a "next steps" agency.
§ Mr. Leighton
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what annual reports are to be issued by departmental "next steps" agencies; when they are scheduled to appear; and how they relate to the departmental annual report.
My Department has a single executive agency: the Employment Service—ES—which was launched on 2 April 1990. The chief executive will report to the Secretary of State on ES achievements and use of resources at the end of the financial year. The report will be published in the summer. The departmental report published on 5 February contains Employment Department group expenditure plans for the three years from 1 April 1990.