§ Mr. Cotter
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what guidance has been issued within her Department and agencies on benchmarking; and if any consultation exercises have been undertaken; 
(2) how the system of benchmarking will be used, and what criteria will be adopted, to achieve best value for money functions within her Department and its agencies; 
§ Mr. Nigel Griffiths
Benchmarking is a widely used management tool and the DTI's Management Best Practice Directorate has been closely involved in developing and promoting it. The Department has a dedicated central point which can advise on these and other quality tools and put staff in touch with others involved in benchmarking activity both within Government and elsewhere. The Department's own Quality Tool Kit also includes information on benchmarking. No consultation exercises have been undertaken on the use of these techniques.