Examination of witnesses (Questions 160
TUESDAY 16 MAY 2000
and MS HELEN
160. And the employment zones?
(Mr Shaw) Part of the process of setting zones up
was evaluation. As part of all the employment programmes evaluation
is built-in there is a strong tradition of that. It is still early
days, but there is evidence of progress within employment zones
with evaluation built into the adaptation of them.
161. Can I move to a broader point, and that
is the relationship between the Department and the Treasury on
employment policy? It sometimes looks as though the Treasury makes
all the important decisions in this policy area. Can you explain
the relationship, Sir Michael?
(Sir Michael Bichard) It is warm. You surely cannot
expect the Treasury and the Chancellor not to have an interest
in employment policy, which is essential to the performance of
the economy. I think the worst possible thing would be for each
of us to patrol our boundary and try to keep the other out of
our territory. I think that there is a warm relationship between
the Treasury and the Department. I think there is a stimulating
discussion which is going on, and that is not code for saying
that there is tension. I think it is a stimulating debate that
is going on and we are entirely comfortable with that.
162. Has the Treasury involvement in employment
policy affected the style of intervention which eventually is
(Sir Michael Bichard) The style of intervention?
163. The kind of intervention. Are you urged
to be less sympathetic to claimants, for example?
(Sir Michael Bichard) To claimants?
(Sir Michael Bichard) Do you mean benefit claimants?
(Sir Michael Bichard) I think we and the Working Age
Agency are about achieving a better balance between rights and
responsibilities and a focus on the labour market, and ensuring
that people who can work are helped into work, because that is
best for the economy and it is actually best for the individual.
There is no way that you could be a member of an inclusive society
if you are out of work. I do not think it is hard on claimants,
it is about helping people into work where you can, but also providing
security and support for those who cannot work.
166. Sir Michael, I think that is not a bad
note on which to end. We have had a very good session. There have
been two requests, one is a request from Nick St Aubyn and he
would appreciate a letter regarding his £100 million moved
to £643 million. Also, my own request would be that the Committee
could have a look at this in light of their discussion in higher
positions in the Department of Education and Employment compared
to higher education. We do not want to look at higher education,
but we would like to just have a look at how you are doing in
terms of the Department and promoting women.
(Sir Michael Bichard) I would be delighted to tell
you what we are doing and how we are doing it.
Chairman: Thank you very much. We would like
a further breakdown in writing of table 17.3 of the Departmental
Report, page 162I will give you a note of thisto
show how many people in each pay-band within the senior Civil
Service are female and from ethnic minorities or have a disability.
We have had a good session. We have enjoyed it. We have learnt
a lot, and I hope you have got something out of it. Thank you.