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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 2 November 2005


Strategy for Transformational Government Enabled by Technology

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Hutton): I have today laid before Parliament the "Strategy for Transformational Government Enabled by Technology" (Cm 6683).

The strategy describes the opportunity provided by technology to transform the business of Government and how that opportunity might be seized. The strategy was commissioned by the Prime Minister to provide overall technology leadership for Government in three areas. First, the transformation of public services for the benefit of citizens, businesses, taxpayers and frontline staff. Secondly, the efficiency of the corporate services and infrastructure of Government organisations, thus freeing resources for the front-line. Thirdly, the steps necessary to achieve more professional and effective delivery of technology-enabled business change within Government.

The strategy focuses upon the core themes that each public sector organisation needs to develop into actions for its area of responsibility, and on the supporting actions to be taken across Government as a whole.

Copies of the strategy have been placed in the Library. A full set of supporting material is available via the Cabinet Office website at: www.cio.gov.uk. The Government have invited comments on the strategy by 3 February 2006.


Increasing the Diversity of the Judiciary

The Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Ms Harriet Harman): My right hon. and noble Friend, the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, has made the following written statement in the other place today:

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Appointment of a New Member of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body

The Secretary of State for Defence (John Reid): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Lord Young of Norwood Green for a three-year term of office as a member of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body commencing March 2006. This appointment has been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.


Gateways to the Professions Report

The Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (Bill Rammell): As stated in my written statement to Parliament on 20 July, I am able to inform the House that the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has today published Sir Alan Langlands' report examining the gateways to the professions, along with the Government's response.

Sir Alan Langlands was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills last year, following the debate on the Higher Education Bill, to act as an independent person to oversee the report. The announcement about his appointment and the terms of reference was made in a statement to the House on 12 February 2004. Sir Alan was asked to examine how the public sector and the professions can sustain and improve recruitment opportunities for graduates, especially those who do not qualify for the full £3,000 support that will be available in grants and bursaries under our plans to introduce variable fees from 2006. He was asked to put forward recommendations on actions that can be taken by employing organisations to provide clear and accessible gateways for all graduates who want to pursue such careers and which will benefit the recruitment needs of these sectors.

In welcoming Sir Alan's report and its recommendations, I would stress that there has never been a better time for students from poorer backgrounds to enter higher education. We expect that 55 per cent. of all new full time students will qualify for a full or partial grant, and further help will be available by way of bursaries from higher education institutions. This means that the poorest students will have a minimum of £3,000 in non repayable support.

In accepting Sir Alan's recommendations we are also supporting the strong sense of partnership which he wishes to encourage. We will therefore create a development fund to carry work forward across the recommendations. Up to £6 million will be made available over the next three years to support collaborative projects in the key areas suggested by Sir Alan.

We have also committed to the establishment of a forum for sharing and developing recruitment and retention strategies. The forum will be key in helping to take forward Sir Alan's recommendations and in addressing the issues raised in his report.

Copies of the report and the Government's response are available in the Library of both Houses.
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