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Mr. Bailey: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment she has made of departmental e-business strategies. [156545]

Mr. Ian McCartney: All main central Government Departments have now produced initial e-business strategies, as required by the e-government strategic framework I published last year. The strategies are published on the web, and links to them can be found at

The strategies represent an important step towards achieving the Government's target that all services should be available online by 2005. They demonstrate the increasing importance of e-government in transforming the quality of services offered to individuals and to businesses.

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The Government's objective, though, is to do more than put individual services online, important though that is. It is to transform the delivery of Government services, so that they are based on customer needs rather than the structures of government. The departmental e-business strategies represent the first step towards that larger goal, but require further development if that wider objective is to be met.

Building on the foundation provided by the initial versions, Departments will therefore develop their strategies to address the major challenges of e-government: working across organisational boundaries to deliver joined-up services; transforming the internal efficiency of government by organising to meet consumer needs not producer preferences; putting e-government at the heart of strategic planning; and developing new partnerships in service delivery.

I am today publishing a note which explains the strategy process in more detail on the e-Envoy's website. Copies will also be placed in the Library.


Public Trust Office

Mr. Darvill: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps the Lord Chancellor is taking to reform the Public Trust Office; and if she will make a statement. [156639]

Jane Kennedy: On 1 April 2001 the Public Guardianship Office will become a new executive agency of the Lord Chancellor's Department. Also from 1 April 2001, the Public Trust Office's Court Funds Office will transfer to the Court Service and its trust work to the Office of the Official Solicitor. The Public Trust Office will cease to exist.

The Public Guardianship Office will discharge the Court of Protection's decisions on behalf of people with mental incapacity. In creating the Public Guardianship Office, the Lord Chancellor wishes to promote and protect the financial and social well-being of people with mental incapacity by providing a seamless service that is responsive to their needs. The Public Guardianship Office will provide a service which will strike the right balance between protecting the vulnerable while avoiding unnecessary State intervention.

The Lord Chancellor will retain ministerial accountability for the new agency's performance. The Chief Executive of the Public Guardianship Office will have clear responsibilities for improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and quality of service. These responsibilities are set out in the agency's Framework Document, which will be published and copies placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

A Corporate and Business Plan setting out the Public Guardianship Office's plans to achieve its aim and objectives over the first three years of its operation will be published and copies placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The following Key Performance Measures have been set to challenge the Public Guardianship Office to provide a high quality and efficient service to its clients while developing increasing professionalism as an organisation.

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29 Mar 2001 : Column: 784W

Civil Procedure Rules

Mr. Doug Henderson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the evaluation of the Civil Procedure Rules. [156636]

Mr. Lock: My Department has today published "Emerging Findings: An Early Evaluation of the Civil Justice Reforms" which sets out the evidence we have so far and plans for further evaluation. The paper shows that the reforms have been generally welcomed and appear to be working well.

The key findings from the report are:

Copies of the report have been placed in the Library of the House.

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